By Kate Wolters
It’s 2015. We’ve got the vote. We can drive cars. We’re allowed to go to university. We can order our own drinks in any bar in the country. And we’re in charge of 70% of buying decisions, according to Forbes. So why on the goddess’s green earth are so many women still wilfully ignorant about their finances?
No, seriously. I know far, far too many intelligent, successful women who have zero financial plan. Who don’t know what they spend and who have no idea how they’re going to fund their children’s education, let alone their own retirement.
Even worse (yes, worse), why are there still women out there who think that “a man” is a financial plan? Insert googly-eyed shocked face.
I mean, I’m not knocking anyone who can get someone else to pay for stuff for them. Look at Amanda Palmer. She’s rocking a whole career run on crowd funding. Go girl.
But really. If your retirement revolves around anything remotely resembling the words “marry a rich oke”, I’m going to need to smack you.
I’m not holding myself up as some paragon of financial virtue. Honestly, I’m not. I also know a ton of women who completely inspire me financially. Who run investment clubs instead of book clubs and who have investment properties and who dabble in the dark arts of the stock market. They understand hedge funds! The only hedge fund I have knowledge of is the money I spend at Starke Ayres.
Shrubbery aside, there is inestimable power and freedom in financial awareness. I think every woman should know where she stands financially. Even if a woman is not contributing financially to her household, she shouldn’t, by default, abdicate her financial knowledge. Know what is insured and how much that insurance costs. Know how much the bond repayments are. Know where all the financial admin is kept and who the family financial advisor is. Know what you and/or your children cost. Women are often utterly scuppered by a divorce or a death, left completely bewildered by the tsunami of financial responsibility that follows.
So, in a world according to me (who I acknowledge, is now sounding like a harpy) what are the 3 basic things every woman should have tucked under her financial belt?
- A budget — what you think you spend each month, and what you actually spend each month.
- A plan for her old age — we’re living longer and longer. Current estimations say we’ll need to fund an average of 20 years between when we retire and when we cork it. That’s a long time eating dog food or living on your daughter-in-law’s sufferance.
- A handle on her debt — how much you owe, where, what the real cost of your loan/s are over the period they are due, and a plan to pay them off quicker.
There is absolutely no reason for a woman of any age not to be financially independent — and I don’t mean earning enough money to keep herself (although that’s always nice). I mean not reliant on someone else for their financial understanding or wilfully head-in-the-sand about her financial situation.
Give up responsibility for the laundry, being on trend, the nuances of foreign policy, by all means, but don’t give up your knowing what you’re worth.
Originally published at blog.22seven.com on December 8, 2015.