MANILA -This March, we celebrate International Women’s Day and this year’s global theme is #BeBoldForChange. What better way can women embrace change than through improving their financial status and leaving behind the financial mistakes of the past?
Unfortunately, many women commit common mistakes that often put them at a financial disadvantage. Often, these mistakes are influenced by traditional expectations because of the role that women play as the nurturer of their families and the managers of the household. While there is nothing wrong with embracing these roles, it is important for women to ensure that these do not push them unconsciously into financial decisions that jeopardize their financial health.
Let’s look at these seven common mistakes that women make and take steps to avoid them:
1. Leaving financial decisions to your partner. No matter how much you trust your partner or spouse, you cannot abandon financial responsibilities to him altogether. Your goals and concerns are equally important, which is why you have to take part in making the money decisions with your partner.
You should know the details of your family finances like exactly how much is in your bank account, your income sources, how much are your monthly expenses, know where important documents are kept, and constantly communicate with your partner on how finances are managed.
2. Postponing retirement plans until too late. When you’re immersed in your day-to-day responsibilities at home and at work, it could be difficult to think about the future. As a mother, it is usual to want to just spend everything on your children and family. But you can’t afford to not think about your senior years.
Invest in a retirement plan so that you do not have to rely on the generosity of your children and relatives when you reach your twilight years.
3. Being afraid to take risks. When you have small children and a thousand concerns to think of, it’s easy to be very conservative in your approach to life and even to investments. This limits your growth opportunities.
When it comes to investing, safer investments also mean lower returns, which limits the growth of your funds. Don’t be afraid to embrace new challenges in life. When investing, take on more risk by diversifying your portfolio. This means distributing your funds between aggressive, moderate and conservative funds.
4. Avoiding raising problems--and seeking answers. Some women feel that it is not “feminine” and that it is impolite to ask too many questions. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with asking questions on anything, especially those that deal with your financial concerns--whether it’s the bill you have to pay at the restaurant, the charges on your credit card, or the deductions in your pay slip. You should speak out if something is amiss and don’t stop until you get the answers that will satisfy you.
5. Spending on wants, versus needs. Fluctuating hormones are often blamed by many women for their wild spending sprees, which can lead to frequent overspending, or worse, debt problems. Some are also focused on keeping appearances, which may lead them to buy things that are beyond their budget.
While there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice, know your “needs” from your “wants.” Make it a point to build up sufficient savings not only for emergencies, but also for your long-term needs.
6. Lacking income protection. Many women think they do not need insurance because they are not the primary breadwinner in their families. This is a big mistake, since death and accidents can strike anyone, regardless of gender.
If something happens to you, the financial impact on your dependents will be the same as if someone else was affected. Purchase insurance and health protection to make sure that you and your family will be ready for life’s exigencies.
7. Putting yourself last. Most women would rather invest in their loved one’s happiness first, forgetting their need to improve their skills in the process. Do not deprive yourself of opportunities to learn, since this will allow you to grow personally and professionally, and will also bring you financial benefits.
Make it a habit to learn something new and make time and effort to upgrade your skills continuously. Go for those training programs even if they mean time away from your daily obligations--you owe these to yourself and your loved ones.
It’s the perfect time to leave behind our old self, embrace a “bold” new you and take the driver’s seat when it comes to your money. Remember your financial future and security is in your hands and the more knowledgeable you are about your finances, the more secure you will be of your future and your own children’s future.
Grow Your Money is an editorial partnership between ABS-CBNnews.com and Citi Philippines to promote financial education and provide helpful information to Filipinos on how to better manage their personal finances.
Visit www.citibank.com.ph for more information.