March is National Women’s History Month and a perfect opportunity to reflect on and honor the contributions women have made to our society.
This is also a great time to discuss many of the issues women still face today, like the gender pay gap and a lack of financial confidence.
According to the Allianz Women, Money, and Power® Study, roughly 62 percent of women say they feel less financially secure overall. Only 42% say they have more earning power, while over half of the survey respondents wished they were more confident in their financial decision making.
So, what can be done to help women feel more financially secure and save more money?
We asked several women for advice on this topic and they had a few suggestions to help you take control of your finances. Take a look.
1. Evaluate Where Your Money Is Going
One of the most important ways to boost your confidence about money is to know exactly where it’s going and why.
We all spend money each day and planning and budgeting will help you feel in control of your finances.
Alanna Anthony of Financialdemics believes this simple step can help you take control of your financial life: “Whether you’re married or single, it’s still crucial that you evaluate where you are spending by checking your bank and credit card statements regularly.”
“Creating a budget will help you track your spending and even uncover money from your income that you can use to work toward a particular goal,” she says.
Chime members, for example, can keep tabs on their account balances with daily text notifications and instant transaction alerts.
2. Save for the Future no Matter What
When it comes to managing your money, it’s best to find a balance between living a comfortable life and saving for the future.
Lindsay VanSomeren of Science Finance says thinking about the future was her biggest savings motivator.
“I don’t have any children so that means I won’t have the option of relying on my kids to help me out when I’m older,” she says.
“At the same time, I’m working hard toward my goals such as traveling and buying a house. I want to enjoy the things I’ve worked hard for.”
VanSomeren also saves a percentage of her paychecks for retirement.
“Since I’m self-employed and have a weird business structure, I’ve actually maxed out how much I can save, so I find other ways to save too.”
“For example, my husband can save far more in his 401(k) so we’re going to start saving more there. I also have my own IRA (individual retirement account) and am saving a percentage of each paycheck. I want to retire in style.”
3. Get Comfortable with Hiring Help
While budgeting and saving are super important, women should still be comfortable with spending money wisely.
Taylor Medine, a Baltimore blogger at taytalksmoney, pointed out that as women, we try to do everything and pack our schedules to capacity. She recommends hiring someone to lighten the load.
“Hiring help is not as expensive as you may think and the investment can save you a whole heap of money and stress in the long run.”
For example, “A tax person can help you find savings through deductions and tax credits while also ensuring that you file properly and avoid getting audited.”
4. Acknowledge Your Financial Wins
If women want to take control of their finances and be more confident about money, it’s important to acknowledge your wins and be proud of the progress you’re making. Nowadays, most people share their wins on social media. However, you can boost your own self-esteem and confidence by highlighting and recording your financial milestones on your own.
“Women should consider starting a ‘brag book’ which can be an actual notebook or file on your computer,” says Angela Randolph of Stellar Ledgers Financial Advisory.
“This brag book can detail important accomplishments at work or any other area in your life whether you landed a new client, received a promotion, or hit a financial goal.”
5. Replace Fear With Education
A lot of fear and uncertainty around personal finance can be replaced with education. It’s hard to know everything and that’s why it’s a good idea to tap into resources to help expand your knowledge.
To start, set goals to read up on financial topics that interest you. And, if you’re afraid of investing, see if you can take a class, read a book or listen to a podcast to help you understand it better. You can also stay current on personal finance news by following investing experts.
There’s a lot of power that comes from increasing your level of financial literacy, so explore the options that are available to you.
Taking the Next Steps
Taking control of your finances is not something that will happen overnight. But you can start by assessing your own financial situation and tracking your expenses. From there, tweak your budget and set up an automatic savings plan.
Just taking these simple steps can lead to positive changes in your financial life.