Happy International Women’s Day! And for all of us in the Philippines, Happy Women’s Month!
International Women’s Day (IWD) has a long and colorful history, dating back to World War II. But it was only in 1975, during the International Women's Year, that the United Nations began celebrating March 8 as IWD. Since then, more countries and regions have marked the milestone day, and in our case, the milestone month.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) is #EmbraceEquity, and in the spirit of promoting an inclusive world, the campaign invites women and men alike to give equity a “huge embrace.” The urgent message behind this campaign is that there is a huge difference between equity and equality. Equal opportunities aren't enough, because true inclusion requires equitable action. Yes, equality is the goal, but equity is the means we will all get there.
This is my personal bias, but I believe equity and equality come hand in hand with financial independence. There are so many opportunities that are lost to women simply because they have limited, or worse, no financial freedom. To get you on the road to financial independence, and be prepared because it can be a long and hard road, here are some money advice to consider if you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. You may find that you missed out on some money milestones but do not worry – it’s never too late, and it’s also never too early. Instead, celebrate IWD by taking your first step in claiming your personal equity and money future.
In your 20s: Learn about money tools that will help you
This is the time you are beginning to break free of parental support. You are finishing school and starting work, or maybe even building your own business. It’s important to learn about the financial products that can help you, both for personal and for work.
Don’t just sign up for any credit card but do your homework and consider annual fees, rewards for your spending, penalties for late payments, interest rates if you are unable to pay full outstanding balance, plus ease of paying your dues. Don’t just open an account with any bank, but choose a financial partner that can grow with your banking needs. Check their range of products, interest you can earn from savings, their branch network, and accessibility plus reliability of their customer service support. Is a savings account the best option at this time, or should you open a checking account? The latter usually requires a higher maintaining balance, and pays lower interest rate, if any.
In your 30s: Time to make your money work as hard or harder than you
You’re now starting to make “surplus” money, meaning you are making more than what you need. It’s time to look at investment options and make your money work as hard or harder than you. See a financial planner to know your risk appetite (are you a conservative or aggressive investor, or somewhere in between) and time horizon (how long can you stay invested between 1 year to 5 years to longer).
Your life is also changing, maybe you got married, or having and raising kids. Your money priorities are changing too, so ask your financial planner what your money needs are. She or he may ask you to buy insurance or add more if you already have, to protect yourself and your growing family.
In your 40s: Buying assets and having your own money
As you hit late 30s and enter your 40s, you will be presented with more and more opportunities to investment options. Why not look into buying assets that make the most sense for you? Is it time to buy a house, or maybe even a vacation home? How about properties that will appreciate in the long-term, which you can sell later or pass on to your children?
Whether you are working or staying home to take care of the family, it’s always a good idea to have your own money. Your personal pot can be your guilt-free spending money, for trips to salon or spa. It can also be much bigger and allow you to invest where you are responsible for any gains and of course any losses too.
In your 50s: If you fail to plan for retirement, you plan to fail
Entering your golden decade, it’s time to take a more serious look at your nest egg. Retirement is around the corner, and it’s good to check if you will have enough to keep your standard of living, plus a little bit more for life’s uncertainties. If you have mortgages and loans, try to pay them out during your working years.
Some also pursue a career change in their 40s and 50s, wanting to avoid regrets down the road. Go ahead but it’s also good to set limits, including money limits to make sure your new career moves will not jeopardize your retirement income and savings.
In your 60s: Enjoying the fruits of your many years of labor
I see the dire warnings of financial experts that with inflation and volatile economic markets, people may need to work past their 60s and maybe into their 70s. But if you can plan to retire at 60 (or even earlier), why not? Explore the world and travel. It’s more fun to do so when you can walk unaided. Or renovate your home, and turn every room into your dream space. With retirement, you can now enjoy your garden, or lanai, or sleep longer in that airy bedroom with the most comfortable mattress.
And if your finances can, consider helping your children and grandchildren. Some choose to help pay for their grandchildren’s college fees. Others help their children with the down payment for their first home. But do these only if it will not put your retirement income at risk.
When it comes to money, I always take my advice from the stewardess that instructs us when our flights take off: put your oxygen mask on first, before you help others. It’s the same thing with money, make sure you have your money mask on and are breathing comfortably, and then you are in the best position to provide help.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.