Are you confident about your life goals?
Do you feel like you have enough saved?
Are you struggling with your personal finances?
If so, you aren’t alone. A recent study showed that while an overwhelming majority of women polled (75%) say they are confident that they can attain their life goals (having fulfilling relationships, raising happy children and pursuing social values), a shockingly low number of women (only 27%) believe they are likely to achieve their goals in money and finance.
Northwestern Mutual shared these tips with you to help you make the most of your money, and I share my own thoughts, too.
10 Tips For Women To Make The Most Of Money
1. Practice FLC™ (Financial Loving Care)
Practicing Financial Loving Care means developing healthy financial habits as inherent to your overall well-being. Ideally, you should spend as much time and energy on nurturing your financial health as you do on other areas of your life like eating right, exercising and getting good sleep.
That last bit? You’re probably not doing enough self-care in general. It’s hard, but so worth it. Take an hour or two each week to go over your financial goals and run numbers. I find it helpful to do it when I have quiet at home.
2. Visualize Your Goals
Getting started is the hardest part, but women who can visualize their goals and create a plan to get there are more likely to achieve success – in life, and in finances. Whether her goal is to run a marathon or to own her own company, nothing can stop an ambitious woman when she has the vision, strategy and drive to achieve what she wants.
I couldn’t agree with this more. I will add a caveat though-be sure you’re taking care of what you already have. It’s a tricky balance, but one you’ll learn as you go.
3. The Confidence Factor
Realize that your sense of self-worth has a big impact on your life, not excluding your finances. Surveys have shown that the way women perceive themselves is connected to their financial confidence, and vice versa. Not valuing yourself can lead to believing that you’re not worth having a financial plan. Understanding this connection is crucial. Once you embrace the link between self-worth and money, you can take the necessary steps to achieving a net worth that matches your high self-esteem.
Be confident in your decisions-even if they turn out to be the wrong ones. You’ll learn valuable lessons along the way, and your confidence will push you to invest more, save more, and manage your money smarter.
4. Pursue your Passions
It’s a lot more rewarding to save when you’re working toward a goal you love. Linking your savings and investments plan with what you truly value will help you keep your eye on the prize, whether family, personal relationships, health, leisure pursuits or other self-fulfillment activities. By identifying and prioritizing what’s important to you, your financial plan will reflect your values and will be easier to stick to.
If it’s new to you-start small. But you should build up to big goals like saving enough to take a year off, retiring early, or even just taking a family vacation next summer.
5. Spend… On the Right Things
Once you’ve identified your values and priorities and have a plan in place, go ahead and spend your money! If that $4 mocha latte or $30 weekly manicure makes you happy, then go for it—as long as it doesn’t break your overall budget. Having a financial plan helps quiet the constant nagging in the back of your mind when it comes to your daily spending. Money can’t buy happiness, but it does help us enjoy life. Once you have a plan that puts your money to work for you, you can get more of what you want out of life.
This is definitely in line with my thinking, too. Those small purchases can add up, yes, but if they give you a lot of happiness than find something to cut out that you don’t care about to ensure you can manage those weekly manicures in your budget.
6. Baby Steps
Get comfortable with the unfamiliar and remember that diving into something new can be daunting at first. But these challenges can transform into something familiar, and even fulfilling, after the initial discomfort. So start with what you know, and celebrate small victories along the way.
Celebrate small milestones as well as the big ones. It will help keep you motivated.
7. Protect What’s Yours
You may be surprised to learn that experts say obtaining insurance is actually one of the easier boxes to check off during the financial planning process. Talk with an advisor about what types of insurance fit your financial plan, and who and what you want to protect. Buying too little or too much can waste money and overcomplicate things. Your advisor can then map out an insurance plan that fits your budget, and most importantly, protects what matters most to you – whether your family, your income or your care.
Insurance is incredibly important. Life insurance should be your #1 priority even if you aren’t working or only work part-time.
8. Build Your Bench Strength
Subscribe to a blog (hey, maybe this one!), read a magazine or visit a website that offers financial advice. There is a tremendous amount of great material written by seriously smart financial experts for people at all levels of financial proficiency. Make a goal of learning one new financial fact each week. Also, take advantage of free tools including budget and planning calculators.
9. Talk About It
Start a financial planning group or simply make an effort to talk about money with your friends. Women talk freely about all sorts of intimate subjects—health, sex and relationships—but, strangely, not about finances. When a topic is intimidating, learning in a group setting can make it both easier and more enjoyable. Consider inviting a financial advisor to your next book club or girls’ night and center the discussion on money.
Starting a group of women who are focused on finances can be incredibly empowering. You’ll learn a lot and you may find yourself more focused on finances than ever before because it’s such an integral part of your personal and social life.
10. Take the First Step
Gain financial confidence and empower yourself today by making an appointment with a financial planner. Our recent “Women and Finances: The Power of Empowerment” survey, conducted with Forbes Insights, showed 60% of women who work with a financial advisor say they’re confident about reaching their retirement goals versus 34% of women who don’t have an advisor. Ask for referrals from your friends and family and/or visit their locator to find an expert in your area.
Finding the right advisor can be a challenge. Lean on recommendations and be sure to ask a lot of questions.
Women and Finances: The Power of Empowerment
See the infographic created from the survey below.
This infographic and information are courtesy of Northwestern Mutual. The study was completed by Forbes Insights and Northwestern Mutual.