I was lucky enough to have a mum who told me to be whoever I wanted to be. She always encouraged me to follow my passions, and this has led me down the route into becoming a doctor with a specialist interest in how money affects my patients – particularly women.
Money problems are a huge concern for women, and with good reason!
The gender pay gap is an ongoing issue, and is not set to be corrected for over 200 years!! We have a pension gap too – starting from before we even start working. And this isn’t even taking into consideration the “pink” tax, spiraling childcare costs and the burden this places on women, plus the ever growing elderly population who need care, generally falling on, yes, you’ve guessed it, the shoulders of women.
The World Is A Better Place With Wealthy Women In It
Ironically though, wealthy women are a huge asset to improving the wider world around us. I’m not just saying this – several studies have shown that if women do better financially, so do their families and society as a whole.
So why are there still so many problems with women’s money??? Surely governments and big businesses should be falling over themselves to help get women into boardrooms and into positions of power, plugging the pay gap and making the financial world more appealing to women?
But that is sadly not how the world works, so it falls on us to make it happen for ourselves.
So what can we do?
Women need to be the change we want to see in the world. We can’t expect to be able to take on the “powers that be” if we are flat broke. Money equals power, and it allows freedom of choice.
But it starts with the basics:
1. Take care of your debt
Debt sucks, quite literally! It sucks your time, your energy and your wealth. So if you have debt, put a plan in place to get rid of it PRONTO! Use a method like the debt snowball. You line all your debts up in order of smallest to biggest and pay off the smallest first. Then you apply the money you had been spending on this debt to the next one, and so on until everything is paid up.
2. Build an emergency fund
There are stages to this – start with £1000. If you’re in debt, this is helpful because it will help you to stop using credit cards for unexpected emergencies. Now in BIG emergencies, this isn’t going to be enough. The next step is to get to 3-6 months worth of income. I wish more of my patients had this in place! This money is to give you a safety net in case you can’t work for whatever reason.
In the UK there are apps that help you save money automatically, like chip, plum and monzo. It’s a super-easy way to save!
And while you’re building this up, get insurance in place that will kick in if you can’t work – income protection insurance is especially key if you work for yourself without the safety net of paid sick leave.
3. Invest your money
At some stage I’m guessing that you’d like to stop working? Well when you do, who will be paying for your living expenses?
If you have a work-place pension, great, but will it cover everything you need? If you’ve done your homework to see how much is in your pension and realise there is a shortfall, how are you going to correct this?
So look for low-cost ways of doing this and start putting a percentage of your money into investing for your future.
4. Have fun along the way!
Celebrate with every milestone – paid off a debt, celebrate! Reached another £1000 – celebrate! Learned how to invest and set up your first portfolio? Celebrate!
You can also add a “fun money” allowance into your budget – you get to spend this money guilt free on whatever it is that you want to! It’s so important to do this while saving or paying off debt so that you can stay motivated to go the distance.
Now obviously, not everyone wants to be the next female prime minister, or have a multi-million/billion-pound company. If all you’re trying to do is survive the week, and make sure there is milk in the fridge, then fine, but if not you, then who?
You don’t have to create the next facebook or google, but when you have money, you can give some of it to causes who are making huge impacts, like kiva.org who help people in developing countries to build businesses on the back of loans given by people like us – we do well, they do well.
You can also invest money in ethical companies – those who are making moves to clean up our environment or put more women in the boardroom.
We are all connected, and we can all improve society if we work together. Wealth IS NOT just for the few.
Good luck on your wealth journey.