What does it mean to be a woman in today’s society? These days, it seems to mean setting high expectations for ourselves to have it all and do it all. So how can we manage to succeed in our personal and professional lives and become financially savvy? This all doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds, especially once you realize that all of these things are intertwined. So let’s talk about how you can have fun and assert your financial independence!
Set some goals
No matter where you are in life, the only way to move forward is to set goals. Without goals and a plan, we’re all just floating around aimlessly. So think about what you want right now – and what you want for the future – and write these goals down. Nothing you write has to be hard and fast. Goals are meant to be revisited and tweaked as time goes on and priorities change.
When you make your list of goals, there is one thing that you must not forget to do: dream big! Imagine a life where you have no debt and more than enough money saved up. What would you do? Would you travel to Europe, start your own business, or move to a new city? Or maybe you’d buy a house and settle down. Either way, forget about anything you think you should do or what’s expected of you. Make a list of the goals that you really want.
Make a Plan of Action
Now that you’ve chosen goals to strive for, let’s talk about a plan of action. How are you going to make those goals happen? The number one key to getting what you want is to achieve financial independence. And the number one way to achieve financial independence? Get out of debt. This is the quickest way to remove obstacles to your ultimate goals. Although it may seem that debt is a part of everyday life for everyone, it doesn’t have to be a part of your everyday life! Feel like you’ll never be able to pay your debt off due to high interest rates? Call your creditors and ask them to lower your rates. Believe it or not, this actually does work sometimes. While we’re talking about debt – don’t forget to make payments on time every time (banks really do keep late payments on the record for forever) and protect your credit score.
How else can you get out of debt? Set a budget. I know, I know. Budgets can feel restrictive, boring, and like such a drag. But if you think of a budget as a means to ensuring that you’re going to achieve the bigger goals you have, then it can actually be fun. Think about this – if there is latte or lunch money that you can re-allocate to a vacation in the Bahamas, you might find look at budgeting in a whole new light!
When you’re doing that budget, don’t forget to allocate money to building an emergency savings account and retirement fund. A solid emergency savings should have 3-6 months of living expenses that you only use in time of desperate need. Think you’re too young for retirement planning? Google compound interest. You’ll see that the earlier you start saving, the less you have to put away each month, and the more you end up saving.
Focus on your career
Now that you understand all the things you need to do to get your finances in order, you’ll want to make sure that income is flowing and growing! You can so by doing your absolute best at your job every day. Don’t just think about getting your job done, think about what value you can add to improve your company and stand out as a leader. No matter where you stand in your career, there is always room to improve your network, your offerings, and your skills. So sign up for relevant classes, take on (or pitch) that extra project, and never stop thinking about what’s next.
Focus on your health
I know I just told you to take on more responsibility, but it’s equally as important to do so in a way that won’t interfere with your health. If you overextend yourself and get sick, you won’t be helpful to yourself or anyone else. So cut out what’s not important and focus on the goals you’ve set.
Next, stay on top of those annual doctor visits. Prevention is the number one key to both keeping healthcare costs down and finding an illness early on when it’s more beatable. Going along with this, make sure to never lapse on your insurance. Even if you’re self-employed and have to purchase this insurance yourself, the monthly bill will still be lower than any medical bills you’d have to pay in case of an emergency.
Now that you have your financial life in order, in check, and moving forward, what’s left to do? Be creative! Dream a little. Maybe you have a hobby that can help you earn extra money while doing what you love. Or, maybe you have a pipe dream that you’ve long ignored due to your career or finances. Think entrepreneurially. Lots of people are spending their time outside of work building side businesses around what they love to do. You never know, you may just find that you have a second career and stronger income in your near future!