Financial independence is an important goal for many people. It means you have the ability to support yourself financially, without relying on others for assistance. It also means you control your finances because you make your own financial decisions, rather than someone else making them for you.
Regardless of who you are, financial independence makes it easier for you to achieve your dreams. It also gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have the finances to live the life you want to live.
For women, financial independence can be more elusive, as women typically face financial hurdles such as lower pay, career gaps while they care for their families, and other financial barriers. Additionally, women generally live longer than men, so they must plan financially for longer periods, and they must have enough financial knowledge to make decisions on their own in the event their spouse dies before they do.
Here are ways women can effectively manage their finances and plan for the future.
Find an advisor you trust
Too many well-intentioned advice columns offer advice designed to “fix” women, focusing on what they do wrong with their money. This advice is outdated. You don’t need to be fixed, but you may need some guidance on what the best strategies are for you.
Find an advisor who is willing to guide you by respecting where you are, where you want to go, how you want to spend your money, and what your unique financial needs are. Choose an advisor who works with your personality, your goals, and your concerns, and takes your insights seriously.
Follow age-old advice
Regardless of your gender, there are some important steps that can help you obtain financial independence. These include:
- Deciding what you want
- Creating a budget
- Setting aside a certain amount of savings
- Having an emergency fund
- Paying down debt.
Think of your retirement
Part of taking charge of your financial future is thinking about your retirement. If you work for a company that offers a retirement plan, take advantage of it. If you don’t, consider opening your own retirement savings accounts. The earlier you do it, the longer you have to save for your retirement, which is important because you could live well into your 90s.
Invest your money
You need money in savings but you also need your money working for you. That means investing. You don’t have to invest in risky stocks if that doesn’t suit your personality or meet your needs. But investing can bring you back a higher return than savings accounts will. A diversified portfolio will limit your exposure to losses and give you more potential for growth.
Have a comprehensive financial plan
A budget will help you with your monthly spending, but a comprehensive financial plan takes into account your entire situation, including your income, expenses, assets, investments, retirement needs, estate planning needs, income taxes, and how they work together to help you achieve your goals.
Financial independence involves you having the money you need to live the lifestyle you want, but it also means being confident in making your own financial decisions. It’s about having control over your money and making sure your money is working towards your goals.