What every woman should know about money

Many women were raised to think money was a man’s domain – but that’s simply not true!

Strong, financially smart women take control of their financial lives. They are women who care for themselves, their families and build their communities; women who take small steps every day to secure their financial futures. You are this strong, financially smart woman!

Happy Women’s Month!

We’ve found five things you can do today to start your own journey to financial freedom and make sure you and your family benefit from your good money habits and wealth building endeavours!

1. Educate yourself about money

It can be fun, inspiring and liberating to learn about money – and anyone can learn money management skills. You should also know that women make better investment decisions than men. Yes – research says so! So, money is not a man’s domain, it is everyone’s domain, and your money is your domain. Learn about it. Teach your children about it.

Take a financial education course, such as this course from Truth About Money, read financial blogs (like the 1Life blog!) and personal finance websites – you can try Gugu Sidaki on Twitter and LinkedIn, Maya Fisher-French, who’s on all the major social media sites, or Sunél Veldtman, who you can also find on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Plus, you can read books on money topics you are interested in. These are all ways to pick up great tips and advice!

2. Work at your finances

You know those exercise habits you dedicate several hours to each week? Allocate the same time to your finances! (By the way, running after your kids, if you have them, totally counts as a workout!)

Your body is better with a workout, so is your mind – and so is your money, so work on it. You can do your finances on your own, or with your partner.

And if you have kids, ensure you explain to them what you are doing and why – in an age-appropriate way, of course – to kickstart good money habits early on in their lives.

  • Draw up a financial plan with clear financial goals and work out how you can achieve them. It’s always good to get help on this one from a financial adviser, as they have the experience necessary to help you create wealth and preserve it.
  • Draw up a realistic, achievable budget with details of how you will spend the money you earn, and include savings, investments and insurance as spending items – not an afterthought if you have something left. This way you really can “pay yourself first”.
  • Monitor your financial plan and budget regularly, with the help of your financial adviser. Are you following it or do you need to adjust it? Check that you are on track to meet your financial goals.
  • On days when you spend money – whether it’s a pension fund contribution or a coffee with a friend – take five minutes to consider whether you made wise choices or not. If you overspent – think about how you can prevent it in future.

3. Organise your financial life

Whether it’s in an app, on your laptop, tablet or phone, or on good old paper – have a financial file that collates everything to do with your – and if applicable, your significant other’s – financial life. This will include your:

  • Budget
  • Financial plan
  • Insurance documents
  • Medical aid, gap cover and/or hospital plan documents
  • Investment documents and statements
  • Tax certificates and documents such as tax returns
  • Bank account details (and statements if you still receive these)
  • Employment details such as contracts and payslips
  • Retirement fund savings including any pension funds at work and retirement annuities
  • Home loan
  • Car finance agreement

Keep these up to date and secure. If they’re paper-based, lock them somewhere safe but accessible, and if they’re digital, ensure they are password protected. And make sure you have a will that details what happens to your assets when you pass on.

4. Plan to get more money and make it grow!

It’s okay to want more money and want more from it, but we’re not talking trips to Dubai or shopping up several storms in Sandton! We’re talking about growing your wealth.

How about earning a second income from a side hustle, or earning a passive income from an investment such as a second property or Airbnb? Could you invest in ETFs or open an investment account?

Wanting more from your money is wanting your money to work for you and make sure you have financial independence, as well as family wealth you can pass on to your children, so they have a head start in life.

5. No! Learn how to say No!

Say no to too much debt, no to the extra pair of boots, no to the flashy car that takes more of your money than you can afford, no to the person who says “Let me take care of it for you,” no to never saving. And definitely say no to the person or SMS or email that wants your personal details with an out-of-this-world offer or inheritance from an uncle you have never heard of in a country far away!

Practice it: No (also good for exercising the facial muscles!).

And again: No.

Practice makes – good enough

Remember, you’re in charge of your money. Every day won’t be money perfect – we all make mistakes, more often than we admit. That’s okay.

Just keep working on it, get organised, see if you can find a little more and educate yourself. And say no when you have to.

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