(This is a guest article by Trisha Wagner*)
As all women know, one size does not fit all. The same is true regarding financial advice. Every situation is unique and requires personal advice and not surprisingly the advice for women differs slightly from advice for men. Although women have made huge strides in the last century, regrettably we are sometimes considered fickle emotional creatures unable to handle the complex issues such as finance. In reality woman are more than capable of handling these issues both at home and in a corporate setting, nevertheless the fact remains a large percentage of women do not have control of over their own financial situations. The following tips can help get you back on track and in control of your finances as well as your future.
- Educate yourself. The more you know about finances and the investment process, the more likely you will feel confident dealing with personal finance issues. After generations of men having control of household budgets, saving, retirement and investments, women have assumed the role in many households. Unfortunately we don't have a long line of role models to look to for example and many women feel ill prepared and even resentful of being in charge of finances and count on a spouse or partner to make the right decisions. Take advantage of the information available on line, in books, community or college classes and even from other women to educate yourself on financial matters. The more knowledgeable you are- the more confident you will feel in your decisions.
- Pay yourself. As the New Year looms closer, consider a new approach to beef up your savings account. Consider paying yourself at the start of each day. Start with just one dollar a day and increase that amount by one dollar at the beginning of each month. Women are quite accomplished at finding ways to take care of everyone else's needs first. It might be the needs of their spouse, children, employer, friends and family; we find a way to make sure everyone is taken care of. Apply the same thought and determination towards providing for you financially.
- Pad your retirement account. Saving for retirement should begin the day you begin working, but in the real world people tend to start later. It is especially important for women who are more likely than men to enter and leave the work force while raising their families to begin saving for retirement early. You will also want to take advantage of the increased amount of money you are permitted to contribute to your 401k after the age of 50. By contributing the maximum amount allowable, you will ensure you have a comfortable nest egg to live off of in your golden years.
- Use credit wisely. Credit is a good thing. Irresponsible use of credit is a bad thing. Resist the urge to help others out by co-signing or loaning money to family and friends. Do not use money or possessions as a means to feel self worth. You will find happiness comes from living well, not spending more.
*About the author:Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.
*Image Credit: Photograph by red5standingby [via Flickr Creative Commons] of Faile Lost In Glimmering Shadows show at Lilian Baylis school in Kennington.