Dana Bratch has created a list of twelve financial tips for women.
While neither gender has an exclusive lock on money management skills, the financial deck is stacked against women. They earn about three-quarters of what men make. In a divorce, they get less of the assets and more of the children. They live longer, and one in eight elderly women lives in poverty, compared to one in 12 men, according to 2003 figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, many women view money and money-related tasks as necessary evils, not opportunities to even the odds.
Bratch recommends that women take the following steps:
- Set a financial goal — be as diligent about money as you are about fitness or your career or about anything else.
- Train yourself to be financially independent — don’t allow yourself to become reliant upon your partner’s decisions, and become involved in long-term financial planning.
- Buy your own home — don’t wait for Prince Charming to come along and do it for you.
- Fund your retirement account — an important step for everyone, not just young women.
- Opt for long-term planning over crisis management — get serious about money now; don’t wait for trouble to strike.
- Start investing — do it now, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Don’t fear risk — women are especially prone to conservative investments; be willing to seek aggressive growth when appropriate.
- Don’t go it alone — work with a financial planner or a CPA to educate yourself and to feel more secure in your decisions.
- Get emotional support, if you need it — join an investment club or, if appropriate, connect with Debtors Anonymous.
- Be more confident in salary negotiations — be more assertive to demand what you’re worth.
- Venture out of your financial comfort zone — important financial actions (asking for a raise, buying stock) all produce some level of discomfort.
- Know that it’s never too late — remember that you can start late and finish rich!
Some of my female friends are actively involved in family finances; one or two are actually wholly responsible for them. Many, however, leave all but the home economics decisions to their husbands. This may work well for the logistics of the relationship, but they should still be sure they are educated and informed about money issues.
(Obviously, most of these tips are good for men, too.)
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