All the stereotypes about women are that they are bad with or feel timid about money. Besides the stereotyping, in reality, women face many challenges in their financial life, like making less money than men, or no-paid jobs during motherhood, easier to become victims of financial scams. We approach the topic below away from the stereotypes and challenges which can prevent you from improving your financial situation. And you can overcome them by following some simple tips we are about to share.
It has been proven statistically that most women will outlive men by 5 years. Meaning whether you are currently leading a single, or married life, you will hit the moment in life where you have to take care of your own finances. You probably have to work when you are 60, or 70 years old if you don’t start planning it now.
- Be in control of your money.
The starting point for everything else is here. Thus, it is crucial to first overcome the mindset. Even if you are a stay-at-home parent and you have no income to manage or control, rethink. We have made it clear that you will have more years to live alone, especially if you are a single woman. Planning now to manage your money can help you in the long run. Even if you are currently not the primary provider for the family, you can still handle other areas of money, such as managing family finances, knowing when to save and spend money wisely, discussing financial objectives with your loved ones, and teaching your children about money. It’s not always necessary to “earn money” in order to feel in charge.
For all the single women out there, it is not just the 10 years of financial independence, you have to “feel in control” all the time. You have to face moments where you need to make big financial decisions in life. Don’t stress about the “what-ifs” scenario; a decision must be made in order to proceed. Over time, keep learning and developing money skills for yourself. But start by knowing your current financial circumstances (how much money you make, set the end goals, and know how much you want to achieve at which age).
- Save a cup of coffee per day
The “coffee cup effect” is the term used by David Bach, author of the book “The Latte Factor,” to describe this phenomenon. If the average cost of a cup of coffee is merely $1, you can invest or save this much every day, and your money will grow exponentially over time.
However, we do not mean you put $1 in a piggy bank at home because your piggy bank does not know the concept of compound interest. Simply put, your money will grow exponentially if your interests are reinvested over time. You do not withdraw the interest, you will see the money rise enormously after 5 years or more. Like Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.” Those who understand it will make money and those who don’t will have to pay for it.
We will share an example of how compound interest work. If you regularly deposit US$1/day, you will accumulate US$30/month. With an interest rate of 5%/year and after 40 years, your money will grow to US$46,000. Basically, your money has already grown more than 3 times thanks to compound interest. So, if you are 25 now, by 65 you will have that amount. If US$46,000 is nothing to you, save your second and third cup of coffee, and you can grow your money to the next level.
- Be wise with credits and debts
Be prudent with your spending using credit cards. If you are not careful about this, you will slide into the “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle. You will get into trouble if you take out a loan to pay for “Wants” but not for “Needs”. The issue with spending on the “Wants” is you will continue to borrow and shop because you never feel it is enough”. So, the first thing you need to do is refrain from borrowing money to acquire items you don’t actually need, like gym memberships, shopping for clothes and cosmetics, and the newest electronics like smartphones and TVs.
- Where is your emergency fund?
A reserve fund, also called an emergency fund, is seen as savings reserved only for difficult times. Hence, the available funds would be appreciated as a contingency for situations like job loss, medical expenses not covered by insurance, home or car repairs, etc. By saving up at least three months’ worth of your monthly expenses right away and putting them aside, you will have some peace of mind. You may expect the best but also plan for the worst.
For instance, if your monthly expense is 300,000 MMK, you can set aside at least 900,000 MMK
And if you want to be more secure, save up 1.8 million MMK.
If you ever deplete this money, you should replenish it right away by reducing your spending in the upcoming months.
- Take care of your health
The best investment any woman could invest in is insurance. In fact, we talked about step 5 “Protection” in the Money Wheel in this article (https://mo.com.mm/articles/overall-financial-planning/). This could be a great cushion for your life. Women will also face many female-related illnesses such as gynecological health disorders, pregnancy-related issues…
We advise you to think about health insurance if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are the main supporter of the family’s finances.
- You are young and there is a long runway ahead (therefore insurance is still cheap now)
- You run a small business or work as a freelancer
- You pursue the FIRE life (Financial independence and early retirement).
Make an informed decision by speaking with at least three insurance providers; do not settle simply because the agent is a friend or relative. You need the appropriate health coverage, and having a long-term commitment to the policy may be necessary.