SMART STEPS FOR WOMEN ON A PATH TO OWNING THEIR FINANCIAL FUTURE
In the course of a lifetime women face many financial challenges such as care-giving duties that consume time and money, lower salaries, and retirement planning that takes into account the fact that women, on average, tend to live longer than men. But by taking a few well-thought-out steps, women can be on the path to establishing both short-term and long-term financial wellness.
1. Imagine What You Want Your Financial Future To Look Like
Financial planning often starts with envisioning: How — and where — do you see yourself living years down the road or after retirement? Would you like to increase the amount of free time you have? How much will your hobbies, recreational pursuits, or personal interests cost? Once you clarify your goals and vision you can begin to calculate how much your lifestyle choices will cost and start planning accordingly.
2. Knowledge Is Power — And Empowering
Understanding how financial planning syncs up with your needs allows you to make informed choices. Consider ways that you can fit learning into your busy schedule such as listening to a personal finance podcast while you exercise or a financial planning audio-book while you commute. Family and friends can also provide information about their own financial choices, including experiences that have worked and those that haven’t.
3. Take The First Step
When it comes to financial planning, no step forward is too small or insignificant. Even the smallest action can serve as the beginning of momentum that leads to bolder moves, more detailed planning, and, ultimately, increased control over financial decisions. Try setting aside your first $100 for an emergency fund, add extra money to a credit card payment, or look at reducing or eliminating some unnecessary monthly bills.
4. Start Saving
Budgeting to manage day-to-day expenses is essential but saving for an emergency is also important. Car repairs. A leaky roof. A failed furnace. If your emergency fund is running on empty you might find yourself unable to cover the cost of life’s unexpected happenings, which could necessitate taking on more debt in the form of a personal loan or using a credit card that’s close to being maxed out.
5. Pay Down Existing Debt
About 25% of women report carrying student debt as compared with 18% of men, according to statistics provided by The Cut, a subset of Prudential’s Financial Wellness Census. Women’s higher student debt often leads to them having more debt in general. Know about how much debt you’re taking on — and for how long — then develop a comprehensive plan for paying it off while keeping in mind your current way of living as well as your future lifestyle.