Money Management

Smart Ways Women Can Own Their Financial Power

By  Kelley Long

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

It’s no doubt there is no greater time to be a woman in the history of our civilization — I agree there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be alive right now as who I am today.

It’s true that there continue to be barriers for women, particularly women of color, but generally speaking, we have more choices today than ever before. In fact, we have so many choices that it can often lead to a tremendous amount of second-guessing and anxiety.

Saying Yes Is Also Saying No

In today’s society where we get to see how everyone else’s choices play out on carefully curated Instagram feeds, it’s waaaay too easy to get caught up in second-guessing our choices. The fact of the matter is, whenever we say yes to something in our lives, we are also saying no to possibly several other possibilities or paths.

Keeping Your Options Open

Regardless of your certainty (or lack thereof) of your life choices so far and the future you’re embarking upon, there are financial moves you can make in the meantime that will keep your options open as you navigate this time of tremendous opportunity for young women.

Four Steps Women Can Take to Keep Their Life Options Open & Own Their Financial Power

1. Eliminate Debt ASAP

When I was first starting my career, nothing stressed me out as much as the self-flagellation I endured every time I thought about what else I could be doing with the $300 per month I was paying on my credit card that I’d run up on stupid things like clothes and food.

In the three years it took me to get to balance: $0, I limited pretty much anything optional in life. But it was worth it — being debt-free allowed me to leave a marriage I hated and also later allowed me to leave a job I hated.

2. Get Confident About Investing

Studies have shown that women are better investors than men, but we’d never know it — it’s by default because we are more cautious and shy away from going big in areas where we don’t feel 100% confident that we know what the heck is going on.

The majority of the women I work with on investment choices and education are actually doing everything just fine, they just don’t know it. The sooner you can find the certainty that you’re doing fine with investing (because you’re putting money away for the future, right???), the easier your mind will rest. And the more your early savings will help keep your future options open.

One thing to know is that there are as many investing philosophies and strategies out there as there are make-up tutorials on YouTube — the key to confidence and success is choosing the one that resonates most with you and sticking with it.

Much like I stated above about the dichotomy of choice, saying yes to one means saying no to many others, you just have to go with it. And just like you can change your mind on many of life’s choices (including your eye shadow pallet), you can change your mind on investing strategies, but monkeying around with it too much can obliterate any progress.

3. Stockpile Savings in a Health Savings Account (HSA)

This is one of my top financial regrets — when Health Savings Accounts (HSA) were first introduced, all I saw was the high-deductible that was required in order to start an HSA and I shied away. What I didn’t recognize was that I NEVER went to the doctor, so deductible wasn’t an issue.

I played it TOO safe by sticking with an HMO plan for too many years and missed out on literally thousands of dollars from employers who would’ve funded my HSA over the years. Not to mention I missed out on the tax savings of putting my own money in the account.

If you are planning to have kids one day, this becomes doubly as powerful, even for guys — maternity care is expensive, kids go to the doctor a lot, and you never know when an emergency appendectomy will have you headed to the ER. Why not start saving today to help offset those things when life will most likely be even more expensive than it is today?

4. Take Care of Yourself But Don’t Be Too Type A About It

If I had a dollar for every stressed-out looking but perfectly sculpted adorable young woman I saw at the yoga studio I frequent, I’d be able to afford the unlimited membership — one thing we’ve done well as a society is instilled the importance of good health in young women.

I often worry though that they are putting so much pressure on themselves to do all that stuff perfectly that they’re missing out on the fun of life. It’s not about getting it all “right,” it’s about enjoying the journey. The easier my life gets, the more I realize it’s the challenges that make it worth living.

Enjoy some cheese fries, for Pete’s sake, just don’t charge it to your card unless you’re paying it off each month.

Additional Expert Insights: Tips for Women to Become Financially Stronger

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked female financial professionals in the Wealthtender community to share their suggestions for women who want to feel more confident and financially fit. Here’s what they said:


Just Get One Toe Over the Starting Line

Start — wherever you are at. Don’t tell yourself that you should have known more; start where you are at now: whether that’s talking with your partner or some girlfriends about money, reading articles on the internet or listening to some podcasts to get some financial savvy, or reviewing your own expenses to see where your money has been going. Just start.

Maggie Klokkenga, CFP®, CPA
Owner, Make a Money Mindshift


Slow Down and Take a Breath

Women DO have significant financial power, and it’s only increasing. I may be biased, but personally, I feel that’s a fabulous thing!

The most important foundational step to owning our power is to be intentional about everything we do with our money. Much of our financial lives happens on autopilot, with things like automated subscriptions and cashless transactions adding to the invisibility of our money.

The key to making wise financial decisions is to spend, save, give and invest mindfully. So before you make your next money move, slow down, take a breath, reflect on your personal values and priorities – how does this move line up with them?

Stephanie McCullough
Founder of Sofia Financial


Action Creates Change

First of all, women need to believe that power over their money lies within. Feeling fearful often leads to no action when action is what is needed to affect change.

It starts by challenging your own belief system about money because what you believe determines how you will act. Action creates change and that feels mightly powerful!

Myra Alport
Founder of Myra Alport Money Coach


Your Attitude is the Key to Mastering Money

I shared this on the retirement answer man podcast with Roger Whitney a while back.

It’s the financial advice my mother shared with me growing up that I still use to this day. Your attitude is the key to mastering money and it will determine the strategies and tactics that you will use to plan your financial future. The words of wisdom from my mother.

1) Make sure you can support yourself financially. You don’t ever want to have to stay in a bad situation because you can’t support yourself and have to rely on someone else.

2) Don’t eat your future today, however enticing it is. Regardless of how tight your budget is, prioritize saving for the future.

3) If something affects you on a daily basis it is important. You need to know enough about that subject to make independent, smart decisions. Money falls neatly into that subject and it’s key we learn enough about it as women to make good decisions.

Jane Mepham
Founder of Elgon Financial Advisors


Do a Savings Challenge

My favorite advice for women seeking to save money quickly is to do a Savings Challenge.

A Savings Challenge is when you save a fixed amount of money each day or week for a set period of time.

For example, you could save $20 every day for 30 days. This would amount to $600 at the end of the month. This can be an especially helpful tactic if you are saving for something specific like your next vacation, building up an emergency fund, or building up some cash to invest.

And there are plenty of creative ways to approach the challenge and adjust it to your particular goals, needs, and budget. Tactics like this encourage good saving habits and make it easier to stay on track with your finance and goals.

It’s also incredibly empowering to stick to a challenge like this and see your assets grow! In the end, you’ll have saved money, flexed your saving muscle, and completed a challenge that makes you feel more financially confident.

Becky Neubauer
CEO of TwentyFree


Kelley-Long

About the Author

Kelley Long

I believe that the true meaning of financial security is the ability to make decisions without having to worry about money. There are both factual and psychological aspects of this belief and my mission is to help people find that intersection in their own lives according to their personal values and goals.

I hold the CPA/PFS license and am a CFP® professional, but I don’t sell any products or manage any money. When I’m not writing, I’m working one-on-one with people through my coaching business, Financial Bliss with Kelley Long. I’m also a member of the AICPA Consumer Advocate Council and am frequently quoted in the press on financial literacy issues facing Americans.

I love to apply my own money lessons to my writing as well as break down some of the more complicated financial planning techniques into plain English. My goal in life is for all people to feel able to make their own financial decisions with confidence, being fully aware of the pros and cons of the actions they take.

To learn more about how I help women own their money power, visit www.financialblisscoach.com.

Disclaimer: In order to make Wealthtender free for our readers, we earn money from advertisers including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured on our platform. This creates a natural conflict of interest when we favor promotion of our clients over other professionals and firms not featured on Wealthtender. Learn how we operate with integrity to earn your trust.

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