3 Lessons For Women: How To Empower Yourself Financially
This may end up being the most important article you read all year. Really!
Invest in your future
Think about how you can improve your skills and knowledge to move up in your career and then create benchmarks to meet specific goals. Even if you haven’t decided which path you want to take, it doesn’t hurt to start building the foundation now.
Here are a few ways that you can work towards securing your future income:
Continue Your Education
Your current skill set may be enough to get you in the door of a company, but building upon what you already have is the key to career progression. Invest in continuing your education (you can learn new skills online for free or cheap) and make an effort to stay abreast of the emerging trends in your desired industry.
Here are a few topics to consider, that would help any woman:
- Public speaking. The ability to address a group of people without nerves and anxiety comes natural to some while others stumble to get past pre-presentation jitters. But learning to control your nerves and speak confidently in front of crowds (or your boss) just might help you get that promotion.
- Business communication. Knowing how to compose professional-sounding communication is paramount in the workplace, whether you’re collaborating with others on a project, conveying a message to your supervisor, or reaching out to customers. We’ve all been on the receiving end of unprofessional emails. Would you hire their author? Didn’t think so.
- Basic money management. Many young professionals overlook the need for financial literacy courses to help them make their money work for them. And it usually doesn’t work out in their favor after they’ve spent years distracted from their work due to money woes or bounced from job to job in desperate search of more money to support their poor spending habits. Radius Bank offers a series of videos to help you understand banking and money management. And remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question if you think that the answer will help you better manage your finances. After all, none of us – from the hedge fund master of the universe to the neighborhood cookie baker in her 70s – was born knowing the difference between a stock and a bond.
- Identity theft and online security. Make sure you’re educated about how to avoid identity theft (here are 8 simple ways to prevent identity theft), since the Equifax hack has made it even easier for criminals to take out loans in your name and steal your money.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
By joining a professional organization, even at the collegiate level, you’ll have access to knowledgeable individuals who can serve as mentors and valuable connections should you need a professional reference or a job hookup in the future. You’ll also be aware of industry functions, luncheons and other networking events that could potentially open the door to employment opportunities.
Start a Side Business
That cuticle cream you’ve concocted or that special cold and cough mixture you brew up each winter could be a goldmine waiting to happen. If it works for you and you love it, try giving samples to friends and family and get some feedback. Your crazy homemade creams could be worth millions!
Victoria Knight-McDowell, a teacher, came up with a cure for the common cold, right in her own home. Her formula includes Vitamin A, C, and E, and seven herbal extracts among other secret ingredients and she called it Airbourne. Within a few short years, her concoction had a revenue of $24 million!
Spanx was started by Sara Blakely, a then fax-machine salesperson who had saved $5000 and was full of determination. She did everything herself, from legal work, package design, to shipping: “I patented it myself — I bought a book on patents and trademarks because patent attorneys wanted between $2,000 and $5,000 to do it for me. I was creating the packaging on my friend’s computer with her help.” Now Blakely is a billionaire and heads her undergarment empire (she owns 100 percent of the Spanx brand), overseeing the work of over 100 employees, 90% of whom are women.
One of the most important steps of starting a business is opening a business bank account, so you can keep your business and personal finances separate. Radius Bank has a whole setup for business women that offers cash management and budgeting features, easy remote deposits using the mobile app, and you can even get a business loan from them. All without the litany of hidden fees that other banks charge.
So remember: there’s no time like the present to get educated and empower yourself financially!
Women have worked their asses off to liberate themselves, yet taking power over our financial freedom has been harder to conquer. Statistically, women tend to put their own financial needs on the back-burner, because they are so busy earning a living and taking care of their families. Just like the patriarchy would want it, while men squirrel away money in bank accounts their wives don’t have access to, or spend on themselves, women spend on their family. While women are very comfortable with day-to-day spending and budgeting, they tend to give their husband’s control over longer-term financial issues, such as retirement and investments. This makes us vulnerable when major life changes happen (like divorce).
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to control your long-term finances, or to talk about how much you and your friends make, save, and spend. When a friend comments that they like my shoes, I often brag about how I got them on the cheap on eBay. To me, saving money is cool! As women, we need to have a non-judgmental, very logical, and vocal relationship with money. Money is a key component of our lives that deserves the same analysis, concern, and proud discussion on a girl’s night out.