Sooner or later nearly all women, because of divorce or other lifestyle changes, come nose-to-nose with the financial area of their lives. You won’t want to learn how to handle money matters in a crisis; it’s better to learn while you can be patient and reflective. Here’s some financial advice…
Financial Advice For Women
So many women confront their cash concerns only at the worst moments in their lives—when they divorce, when their husbands die, when they lose their jobs, or when they face a health crisis.
So when is a good time to start caring for your financial future? Today!
It doesn’t take a course in economics to see that the longer you wait, the worse off you may be. The facts aren’t always easy to face, but they are potent persuaders. They show the need to create a sound base for your future financial life now, whether you’re married, single, widowed, divorced, or partnered. All women, working and nonworking, need to provide for the years when their earning power has diminished or ended altogether. They’ll need cash—just as Sophie Tucker said.
Sophie Tucker was my inspiration. I read this quote from her and it hung on my refrigerator door for years while I pondered its full implications. Sophie says: “From birth to age eighteen, a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality. And from 55 on, a girl needs cash! Yes, she does, was my conclusion.
Here are some pertinent quotes about our lives as women:
“We all know this to be true, or we should, because we live in a time of extended longevity At birth, female infants born in 2007 had a life expectancy of 80 years, compared to 75 years for male infants.” (“Women in America Report”, March 2011, pg. 41)
Most women can expect to be on their own at some point in their lives. Many, of course, remain single.
“Once upon a time in America, marriage was the norm for adults. But now, for the first tie since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking these numbers in 1976, there are more single Americans than people who are married. That is a huge change. About 50.2 percent — or 124.6 million American adults — are single. In 1950, that number was about 22 percent. Singles have taken over — despite online dating.” (From PRI’s Takeaway, a public radio program).
In 2006-2008, an estimated 60 percent of U.S. women age 18 and older reported having very good or excellent health, but that rate was only 39 percent among women age 65 years and older.” (“Women in America Report”, March 2011, p 39).
Many women base their lifestyles on a two-income household, and women who work at home as mothers and homemakers choose to depend on their husbands or partners for financial support. Our longevity means that most of us will be living for a long time. So divorce and other circumstances are likely to leave many women in charge of their financial lives, regardless of income, whether they’re ready or not.
Many men are fine providers for their wives and children and carefully plan for the time when their spouses—whether working or nonworking—will be on their own. Others, however, are less responsible, through either ignorance, carelessness, or unwillingness to face the harsh realities of life. In too many cases, this means that these men are leaving their wives and children to slide into poverty after they die.
“If you’ve digested all this, then your stomach may be burning by now. Every single one of these contingencies is a serious challenge to gastrointestinal equilibrium.
And these realities shed a very different light on the belief many women have that investing is risky business. If you take these considerations very seriously, then you’ll realize that spending your money as you earn it, without putting it to work, is the real risk you face, and it’s a far greater risk than the chance that you’ll lose money by having an agreement with yourself to regularly invest your money in a way that nurtures and benefits you. The real risk most women face is failing to invest actively.
“And part of this life process is being patient and trusting the reality that your money needs time to grow. This is a reality that’s not going to sprout overnight, like a Chia Pet. It’s going to grow based on consistent investment action, not one based on hot tips, inside information, advice from a psychic hotline, or terrifying chance-taking that will only send your stomach into hyperspace. Believe it or not, your money can grow without financial worry.
This was the substance of our lives as women today. Now is the time to be alive new energy—ready to consider different opportunities for financial well-being.
A few weeks after I returned to my office, Betty Scott, the lawyer from San Francisco, called. She was ready to find out more about how to grow her money. I’m going to give you some jewels—financial jewels—here through Betty’s story, you’re about to learn the first one.
We sat in my office one day discussing Betty’s financial life. She was a successful, energetic woman with a good income who hadn’t yet thought through how her money was going to work for her.
“So, Betty,” I began, “I’m now going to tell you about an elegant and understated approach so you will be able to turn around your situation—to stop draining your salary and start making your money grow for you. It’s one of my secret jewels.”
Betty perked up, sitting straight in her chair. “But, Joan,” she interjected, “I thought you said there were no ‘secrets,’ no ‘hot tips.’ You’re making me nervous talking about secrets.”
I laughed and touched her arm for reassurance. “Well, it’s secret only because people ignore it—and it’s something few people talk about. If you can manage your money so you can pay your bills each month, then you really already know the secret. Deep down, everybody knows this stuff, and yet you’ll never hear about it from Wall Street.”
“Okay,” said Betty. “What’s the great revelation?”
There are three guideposts to financial success:
- Spend less than you earn.
- Invest the difference.
- Reinvest all your returns for compounded growth until you have a pot of invested money that generates the income you want for life—your “trust fund.”
“Here’s another way to think of it, Betty. Run your life like a business so that you make a personal proﬁt at the end of the year. Then keep socking away that proﬁt until you have enough money to make you independent for life. That’s the way to grow money, the same way any successful corporation stays in business,” I said.
Betty sat in silence for a moment, considering everything I’d said. Then she glowed, a big smile dancing across her face.
“It’s so simple,” she said, “and it does make sense.”
Yes, it is simple, and the specifics of investing and growing your money is at the heart of our discussion.
For now, the important financial advice to remember is this: You can take charge of your financial life—and you can start now.
Joan Perry is the publisher of www.WomensWealth.money, the national authority site for women and money. She is a Best Selling Author of ‘A Girl Needs Cash’, Random House; and Living Proof, Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper (co-authored with Lisa Nichols). Joan is also the creator of The Women’s Wealth Model, A Heroine’s Journey to True Wealth,. As a pioneer in the field of women’s wealth, she founded the first female-owned investment banking firm that underwrote and traded municipal bonds for major governmental entities. Now as a women’s wealth advocate, she serves as a teacher, coach, writer and speaker.