“Money has some rules attached to it. And if you follow the rules, you’re going to have more stability in your life than if you don’t follow the rules. Doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.
The rules are the same: You need to have a plan for how you use your money, you need to have a healthy credit identity, you need to have emergency money and some insurance.
I think it’s really important that we come to realize that life is about balance, that it’s not all or nothing. It’s not spending every waking moment thinking about money or spending no time thinking about money.
Managing money isn’t really that hard. It requires some discipline and there is some detail involved, but in reality it doesn’t take that much time and the payback is huge.” –Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Why Financial Literacy For Women? The prevailing socio-economic climate makes financial literacy more relevant than ever. Financial well being is critical in order to achieve an integrated and harmonious life. This is because it affects other areas such as; self-worth, coping ability/resiliency, mental health, physical, spiritual and socio-emotional well being. There are many reasons why financial literacy for women is very important, here are my top 12:
- 1. Overall issues of good health and well-being among women
A popular axiom says that ‘Health is Wealth.’ This holds true now more than ever, especially with the recent findings in quantum mechanics and behavioural-social-neuro-science which shows the connections between mind-body-spirit. Financial stress, especially when internalized for extended periods of time has been proven to reduce the body’s natural immune system and compromises our susceptibility to various diseases and conditions. Stress management has become a focal point in achieving work-life integration for women. And the #1 stressor among households in North america remains financial stress (Source: Vanier Institute for the family, 2014).
- 2. Increasing life expectancy among women
According to Statistics Canada, women outlive men by an average of 8 years. At some point in their lives, women would be solely responsible for their financial decisions. It may be due to the loss of a spouse, or even through divorce, separation etc They have to start early to develop skills that will serve them well much later in life.
- 3. It affects the quality of your relationships (The most commonly cited reason for divorces is financial incompatibility)
According to the Huffington Post, the No. 1 reason marriages end in divorce: Money problems. A strong financial background by each party in a relationship, with respect to budgeting, debt management, wealth creation and saving, fosters better communication, reduces the burden of stress on either partner, increases the chances of achieving joint and individual goals and invariably creates healthier relationships, overall. Financial Literacy and independence among women also reduces the possibility and extent of abuse in a relationship. And in cases where abuse occurs, women with a healthy financial awareness/means are better positioned to explore and exercise healthier options.
Furthermore, in any given relationship, the skill set of both parties contribute to make the relationship stronger. Women who are financially savvy, bring their skills to the table and this makes for better choices and decisions for the unit as a whole. A healthy financial relationship between couples enhances the overall quality of the relationship, because rather than fight or quarrel over finances, ‘money talk’ simply becomes a regular part of their ‘pillow talk’ 🙂 It is important to note that it is not merely about couples having a lot of money, rather it is more about have healthy and aligned values about their finances and also having a respectful, resourceful and open attitude to money matters.
- 4. Trans-generational wealth transfer (Baby boomers generation)
A sound Financial knowledge is critical for those women who receive any form of inheritance from their parents or grand-parents. There is an enormous amount of inter-generational wealth transfer to women (as widows, offsprings and care-takers).
- 5. Wage Differentials and less time span spent by women in the work force
On average, women earn less than men for the same job descriptions, titles and/or functions. According to a report by Time Magazine in 2014, women are still earning less than men and this wage gap exists even in women-dominated jobs. According to new research by Wells Fargo in 2014, college-educated millennial men made $20,000 more per year than women with the same education level. The median annual income for millennial men was $83,000, while women made only $63,000.
Furthermore, women tend to spend less time in the workforce due to breaks from their career for life events such as maternity, child care, parental care etc. This necessitates that more emphasis should be on creating savings/investments vehicles to compensate for the gaps discussed above. This is particularly significant when you consider that generally compared to men, women tend to have many routine (and unique) wants, needs and activities that require money and reflect directly on their self confidence/image. Some examples: grooming (manicure/pedicure, hair and makeup/ clothing, cosmetics etc.)
- 6. Women are increasingly becoming more educated than men
This leads to more opportunities but invariably also means women are acquiring high debt loads via student loans. Financial Literacy is key to managing these debts so they do not lead to poor health and high stress levels, thus wiping off the gains of a good education.
- 7. Social consciousness among women to give back to the community
There is an increasing need to volunteer, make charitable donations and contribute to the society. This is particularly common among the 40+ demographic. This need for fulfillment, connection and commitment to good causes can be achieved with a knowledge of wealth creation and management as it helps to provide the flexibility, time-freedom and resources needed. You cannot give what you do not have.
- 8. Managing the different life stages: widowhood, divorce/separation, single parenthood, empty-nest etc
A sound financial base is becoming increasingly important in order to successfully navigate the complex nature of the present family structures and life-cycles. There are more single parent household more than ever in our history and the corresponding challenges also need to be addressed. According to the Women`s Legal Action Education Fund, the percentage of single-parent families, headed by women who live in poverty in North America is 52%!
- 9. More women are becoming primary breadwinners in their families
The harsh economic climate and changing labour markets, have led to a reversal of traditional financial roles in many households. New money management skills and resources are necessary to adapt effectively to these evolving family dynamics.
- 10. More women are choosing self employment/entrepreneurship as career paths
Women who operate in the fluctuating entrepreneurial or independent contract environment calls for a different mindset and set of money management skills when compared to the more stable 9-to-5 corporate world.
- 11. Due to increasing life expectancy, more women are now in the ‘sandwich generation’
A lot of women are now primary care-givers for both their immediate families and also for their parents and grand-parents. The financial stress and challenges associated with wearing these multiple hats are enormous.
- 12. Lack of a systematic financial literacy culture
No one is immune to bad money habits. As women become more educated and successful, there is the danger of also acquiring more debts and responsibilities. And if this exists within a society where most household debts are at an all time high, financial insecurity and instability become the norm, even among college-educated and professional women.
- 13. A need to create awareness for holistic behavioural changes
Women are often the primary nurturers and are critical in shaping the characters of children. A sound foundation of financial literacy among women would enhance the general societal culture and help leave a legacy of sound financial culture to upcoming generations. A holistic financial literacy program is necessary to create the society of our dreams where accountability, responsibility, resiliency and integrity are key. Overwhelmed and wondering where to start? Take these next steps: 1. Get a copy of Gail Vaz-Oxlade`s book: `It’s Your Money: Becoming A Woman Of Independent Means.` 2. Read the book and identify 3 tips that are most relevant to your situation. 3. Apply these tips in your life and track your progress. (If possible, find an accountability buddy so you do this as a team and help keep each other on track). * Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive notifications on our upcoming F.L.O.W webinars and seminars. Ladies, let today be the day you begin to take empowered and aligned action towards a Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier YOU!
(Sources: Vanier Institute for the family, Statistics Canada, Canadian Human Mortality Database, TD Economics, Women`s Legal Action Education Fund, Wells Fargo, TIME Magazine, Huffington Post).
*Join us for a series of upcoming Experiential Financial Literacy, Empowermet and Leadership Training Seminars, Webinars and Audio Podcasts. Watch this space for more details.
Whatever you do and whomever you meet, remember to sow seeds of love, value and service. Dream wonderful dreams and co-create your destiny with God!
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-Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, MBA
Poet | Master-Certified Leadership Coach-Trainer -Consultant|
~Take empowered ACTION towards a Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier YOU!~
The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Co-Founder and Executive Director at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is the author of the upcoming books: “UN-Locking Your HeArt of Leadership” and “Today, I Will Not Bow”. A self-described Life-Connoisseur, who loves life and the whole human experience, Juliet was nicknamed a ‘Reminderist’, [one who reminds us of that which we already know; that we are not fractured or broken and NOW is the perfect time to replace that fallacy with a new, beautiful truth: we are worthy, empowered, complete, whole creatures and our life journey is to return to wholeness]!
She is a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Leadership, Investment & Financial Literacy for women and youth (especially girls). Her mission is simply to engage, educate and empower women, regardless of their levels of income or background, to return to ‘wholeness’ and live Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier Lives using Faith-based, Scientific and Universal (Common-Sense) principles! Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc, @julietumeinc. Enjoy some of her portfolio of poems on her Floetry Blog and follow her daily reflective posts on Facebook.
Her message is simply: “To use the power of written-spoken-sung WORDS to connect, heal, empower, change and transform our inner and outer worlds. Words have power in the meaning and interpretation we choose to give them and all of life is synchronistic poetry in motion! Are you telling empowering stories about yourself and others?”
- Top 10 Money Tips to Achieve Financial Literacy (prweb.com)
- Youth Financial Literacy Novel Receives Widespread Critical Acclaim (prweb.com)
- Women Get Better with Money As They Age (money.usnews.com)
- The Hidden Costs of Being a Woman (money.usnews.com)
- Managing money the Maori way topic of hui (radionz.co.nz)