Women have made tremendous strides in society over the past century. We’ve earned the right to vote, joined the workforce in droves, risen to the top of various industries, become innovators and game changers, and we’re just getting started. As more women continue to grow and succeed, our financial literacy and independence must grow as well.
Achieving financial independence is one of the most important movements toward equality for women of our time. No matter how many advancements we make at home or in the work place, if women are not able to understand how to properly manage money, we will always be at a societal disadvantage. Here are just a few of the many benefits women can experience if they increase their financial literacy and manage their own money.
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The Benefits of Achieving Financial Independence
A recent report by the New York Post found that money and finances are one of the leading causes of stress for millennials. This stress is negatively impacting their health, productivity at work and happiness at home. Often, the root cause of this stress is that many women don’t understand what is going on with their finances.
If you don’t understand what is going on with your own money, how are you supposed to be confident in your ability to manage it? This issue isn’t just impacting millennials, it’s an issue for women across the board. Taking control over your financial future can help alleviate stress and put you back in a position of control.
Protect Your Future
We can’t confidently tell you whether or not money buys happiness. It’s a challenging question for another time. But we can tell you that money can help buy stability. Having your finances under control means that if the unexpected happens, you have a safety net to fall back on. If you place your finances in the hands of a family member or significant other, there are many additional risks involved.
What if that significant other leaves you or that trusted family member dies? What if they are unreliable and take advantage of you? What if they are just as clueless about finances as you are and they mismanage your funds?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five women falls into poverty because of divorce. That can be the dramatic result of never learning how to manage finances. If you understand where your money is going and where it’s being kept, you are more protected from life’s unexpected events.
Financial Planning that Can Help Protect Your Future
- Planning for retirement
- Creating a sustainable budget
- Starting an emergency savings fund
- Establishing a sensible college loan repayment plan
Keep Your Doors Open
Before 1974, women weren’t able to open a credit card in their own name. Before that, they needed their father or husband to open accounts for them. Younger women may take this ability for granted now but this is still a very new Right for most of the older female population. To put it into perspective, Betty White wasn’t able to have a credit card in her own name until she was 52 years old. This shift was a major game changer for women whose previous inability to manage their own money was restricting and limited their life choices.
The ability to bank and budget for yourself gives you options. For example, you should decide whether or not you want to get married based on questions of love and compatibility, not whether they can take care of your banking for you. According to the Pew Research Center, the median age for women getting married rose from 20.3 in 1960 to 26.5 in 2011. It used to be women could seamlessly transition from their father managing their finances to their husband managing their finances. Now that they are staying single longer, increasing their financial literacy is more important than ever.
There are so many choices for young women today. You can stay single and focus on your career. Maybe you’re ready to get married and start a family. You might still be living with your parents or maybe you’re moving away to start an exciting new chapter in your life. No matter which path you are one, it is most important to do what’s right for you. Managing your own money gives you the financial freedom to decide for yourself.
Greater Success in the Workplace
Understanding your financial situation isn’t just going to bring benefits to your personal life. It can also improve your professional one as well. Learning to bank for yourself can create more confidence. This confidence can spill into your professional life and make you more eager to take on new challenges at work. It teaches budgeting and time management along with a variety of other skills that will transfer over and improve your career.
Managing their own money also gives women a great introductory course to handling a business’ finances. In 2016, there were an estimated 11.3 million businesses owned by women in the U.S. and that number is expected to grow. A strong understanding of budgeting and financial planning is going to be crucial as female entrepreneurs continue to break new ground.
The Time is Now
Despite the rise of women managing their own finances, there is still a large part of the female population in the U.S. that is not financially literate. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 3.8 million American adult women possess literacy skills below a “basic” level. We have the resources we need to change that, so the question is, what are we waiting for?
If you’re a woman who hasn’t had any experience managing your own finances or just wants to improve your money management skills, now is an excellent time to start. Check out the rest of our Invested in U articles to learn more about different aspects of managing your money and financial planning. Visit one of our 14 convenient locations and get to know your local Union Trusted Advisor. We partner with you to help you bank successfully and achieve financial independence.