Women are increasingly becoming involved in family finances, and the decisions that go with them. Women have long been involved in the shopping aspects of family finances, and in frugality. However, with a greater number of women earning money, and more women — including those that stay at home — interested in using money to make money, it seems natural that women would be more interested in participating in major money decisions. However, finances are still seen as traditionally male turf. Here are some financial tips that women (and men!) can use to improve their situations:
1. Don’t Let Someone Else Direct Everything
A stay at home spouse deserves a say in how the money is spent. Someone staying home is sacrificing to provide real value to the family, and, even though our society doesn’t recognize these contributions with a pay check, they are still important for the family’s overall financial well-being. No matter your situation, make it a point to be informed, and be involved in family financial decisions.
2. Get Educated About Money
A recent study pointed out that many women are still uncomfortable with investing. A big part of that is a lack of knowledge about how investing works. Take the time to learn about how money works, and about how different investments work. You can learn in bite sized bits, tackling a concept a day, until you feel comfortable with money, and with making money decisions. You might even decide to take a little more risk with some of your investments. It can also mean joining a legitimate investment club to learn more about value investing.
3. Fund a Retirement Account
Many women rely on their partner’s retirement account for the future. However, it is important that you have a retirement account in your name as well. If you have a job, make sure some of that money goes into a retirement account. If you do not have a job, talk to your partner about a spousal IRA. You can still have a retirement account, even as a stay at home spouse.
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4. Consider Your Own Financial Needs
It is common for women, especially mothers, to sacrifice for others. However, you need to make sure that your finances are under control. Before paying for your child’s college, consider whether or not your own retirement is in good shape. You might even want to pay to finish your own degree, so that you are prepared to work if the need arises. You can’t truly help others financially until your own finances are sold.
5. Know Your Worth
Learn more about what your skills and experience are worth in the job market. Know your worth, and learn how to ask for what you’re worth in a professional manner. Many women accept less money than their male counterparts because they are afraid of rocking the boat. (Take realities, such as the recession, into account during a salary negotiation.) Additionally, if you are a stay at home spouse, develop confidence in your worth as a member of the family.
6. Look for Support When Necessary
Don’t be afraid to look for financial support when you need it. This may mean working with a financial planner who can help you create a roadmap to financial freedom. It can also mean joining a legitimate investment club. If you are nervous about financial decisions, look for ways to find help and support, and look for legitimate and helpful sources of information.