Financial Freedom

Financial freedom: A woman's guide

When it comes to woman and their money, especially investing, they seem to lack the confidence in taking a ‘chance’. In reality most women don’t take charge of their financial future and rather leave this task up to the men in their life, making the excuse that they either don’t earn enough money or that they don’t have enough time in between work and their family to worry about finances. However, during these tough economic times in our country, everyone needs to start taking their personal finances seriously, including women.

Some recent international studies have shown that -
• Nine out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives
• Less than 15% of women who are married or living with a partner feel responsible for planning for retirement
• Only 40% of women are part of their employer’s pension plan
• Over 75% of women become widowed, at an average age of 56, and one in four of these women run out of money within two months of being widowed
• A high percentage of elderly woman are poverty-stricken
• Half of all women work in traditionally female, relatively low-paid jobs without a retirement plan; and
• Women retirees receive only half the average
• pension benefits that men receive.

Take control of your finances

Firstly, you must acknowledge any outstanding debt you may have and set a plan to pay off some of that debt. This is already a start to your saving because debt can be very expensive. The sooner you close some debt, the more you save on interest.
Tackle debts that have the highest interest rates first. Then, once it is paid off, you focus on the debt with the next highest interest rate and so on. Experts suggest that the benefit to doing this is that you eliminate the most costly debt first, which can lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

Secondly, you must understand that you have to save, no matter what your current financial situation is. Start by budgeting and allocate your allowance or salary more sensibly. Every rand you save can change your future. Your kids don’t HAVE to have the most expensive and latest of everything. Moderation as a child will also teach them to live within their means when they reach adulthood.

Here are 7 ideas to give you a solid starting point to take control of your finances

• Set financial goals for yourself.
• Always spend less money than you earn. This is where a proper monthly budget comes in again.
• Build an emergency fund. You never know what the future may throw at you. Losing your job could be one of those unforeseen things.
• Get involved with your family's finances, and talk about money with your spouse.
• Talk about your, and your partners, debt before getting married. Or protect yourself with a pre-nuptial contract.
• Don't let the word “INVESTMENT” scare you. There are many safe options for you to invest in for your future.

Struggling with debt and worried about your financial future? Chat to the professionals for guidance at Meerkat and we’ll help you on your financial journey!