Financial security tops the list of women’s biggest concerns, and understandably so. After all, financial strain can result in sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days, and the stresses of uncertainty can take a serious toll on health, relationships, and overall wellbeing.
Recent studies show that women are more susceptible to this problem than men. Why? They tend to be less financially prepared than their male counterparts. When the Money Runs Out explains why women fall off the financial cliff and how they can get back on track after it happens, giving them the necessary tools to build and maintain real financial security.
What are financial cliffs?
A financial cliff is when you spend more money than you have. Imagine going to your local grocery store and filling up a shopping cart with all your favorite items.
Then, before you’re able to pay for them, your car breaks down and you don’t have enough money for any of it! That’s what a financial cliff feels like – only in reverse. The point at which women are most likely to run into a financial problem is during retirement – typically 70 or older.
How it happened to me
I was happy to be married, so I quit my job. When my husband lost his income, I had no way to support us. We were suddenly teetering on financial disaster, with no way to recover. Learn from my mistakes and guard against what can happen if you’re unprepared for life’s curveballs.
What can you do about it?
To begin, you’ll need to set a monthly budget, ensuring you cover all your basic monthly expenses. Next, you’ll want to determine how much money is left over for discretionary spending and how much will go into savings (reserve funds for unexpected costs and investments). Not sure where to start? There are plenty of tools out there to help.
Creating strategies and goals
By figuring out your financial goals and having a plan in place to reach them, you’ll be less likely to let financial stress derail your day-to-day life. For instance, if you know that paying off credit card debt is a priority, then set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your credit card company every month. If retirement is on your mind, start stashing money away for it each week or month. Whatever it may be, create strategies and put them into action immediately.
Developing a budget plan
It’s no secret that women are more apt to overspend than men. And what does overspending lead to? Bankruptcy. The fastest way to dig yourself out of a financial hole is by developing a budget plan.
A budget plan doesn’t have to be complicated; it just needs to help you keep track of where your money is going. You don’t have to do it alone, either; ask a friend or relative who understands finances for help putting one together.
Determine your values/principles
Understanding your values and principles is vital. What’s important to you? Is it teaching your kids about hard work, being able to help others, or setting a good example for them so they’ll know how to be financially independent when they grow up? Take some time to think about what’s important to you and write it down.
Start saving now!
As we get older, our expenses increase and our income potential decreases. When we’re single, it doesn’t seem so bad. We can live within our means and still go out with friends on Friday night or enjoy a girls’ weekend in Palm Springs.
But when you become part of a couple, your financial status changes almost overnight. There are two of you now—and even though your total income may be higher than before, you have twice as many bills to pay!