How to Be a Financially Empowered Woman
What does being a financially empowered woman mean to you?
According to the Oxford Dictionary empowerment means “the act of giving someone control over their own life and situation” and financial empowerment therefore, is giving someone the control over their own financial life.
Financial literacy plays a big part in this, as having the financial education enables women to make smarter decisions when it comes to managing their finances.
But I believe it’s not the real reason so many women struggle with financial empowerment (i.e. having control over their own financial life).
Women are often at a disadvantage financially, because they don’t have confidence when it comes to dealing with their money.
Signs of a low level of financial confidence are:
- Feeling a little wobbly when it comes to dealing with your finances
- Feeling anxious and overwhelmed when you need to make choices regarding your spending
- You know you need to address your finances but feel panicked and a little bit sick thinking about it
I have taken some massive steps to address my financial skills because, as a single mother, I feel it’s so very important to be able to take care of myself and my child. I did this by taking 6 years to study accounting, business, financial planning and finance, but you honestly don’t need to do what I have in order to thrive financially.
What I have found at the end of all my studies, is financial success really comes down to a desire to improve and learn, a strong sense of self, confidence, grit and discipline.
It’s not due to some tricky stock market investment strategy, it’s women’s behaviours and clear thinking that cause them to succeed with their money.
In this post you will learn:
- How to be financially empowered
- Strategies to become stronger financially
- Mindfulness tricks
Hopefully you learn that it is possible for you to become more financially empowered despite your current circumstances.
You really can be strong when it comes to your money. Let me show you how.
How to Become Financially Empowered
To me, a financially empowered woman is strong and decisive and is not taken advantage of financially.
She knows her financial rights and is confident.
A financially confident woman will use her voice to express her own opinion and can defend herself and her money if necessary.
Financial vulnerability on the other hand can occur when there is a lack of knowledge or desperation in respect to circumstances.
Not feeling capable or being emotionally resourced to handle important financial decisions, also contribute to financial disaster. Women in these situations are often living pay check to pay check and have little resilience when the unexpected happens.
They have a sense of dread whenever money is tight.
An empowered financial woman has the required knowledge, is able to access help and resources if she needs them. She has a strong financial system set up, savings set aside for the unexpected and provides for her retirement.
If you are currently living pay check to pay check I hope you will get some ideas and inspiration from this post.
I know it is entirely possible for you to become a fierce and financially empowered woman.
I hope by the end of this post, you believe this too.
Want to Become Financially Empowered
It may sound obvious that you don’t obviously want to be financially vulnerable any more, but are you prepared to do the work to change your situation?
Change is hard and can be really confronting, not everyone can actually do it. It can often take a few goes at it before it sticks for good.
Avoidance is usually the coping strategy most women use, denial, putting their head in the sand, not opening their statements or paying their bills.
Some women just want it to go away and pretend it’s not happening. Have you had enough of this? Are you prepared to turn around and really look at your current situation honestly?
You will not change your situation without committing to doing better.
Deciding to stop this avoidance and work towards improving your financial situation is one of the most important steps you can make towards becoming financially empowered.
Control Emotional Spending
Self-awareness is the next step you need to take.
Quite honestly women often have no idea their compulsive need to shop is actually not to buy the thing they think they need, but from trying to meet an unmet emotional need.
When you go shopping next time and buy something spontaneously stop and reflect.
Are you upset? Did you have a bad day at work? Are you nervous about going to a fancy event and need to find ‘the perfect’ outfit?
Do you have a cupboard full of clothes with their tags on?
What is really going on here? Are you seeking comfort, feeling insecure or ‘less than’ your friends?
Spending money needs to bring you joy and make your life easier, not buy your way into an expensive friendship group.
Trying to keep up will just stress you out and ruin your bank account.
If you have the ability to identify these times when you aren’t your lovely happy self, you can avoid the shops and save quite a lot of money.
When you are back in a more neutral emotional state you can revisit your shopping list and decide if you really want or need the items.
Shopping when you are emotionally fragile is always a bad idea! You don’t feel better like you hope, there’s only regret.
This Applies to Spending on Children (& Pets) too!
This also applies to those of us who are parents and spend excessively on our kids (or fur babies!)
You are still a great mother if you don’t buy loads of toys.
You are actually showing them what a responsible financial role model looks like. I think it is the best gift you can give them.
Being financially empowered doesn’t mean to stop spending money all together it’s being thoughtful in the way you do spend to get the greatest impact for your money and time.
I’ve included an emotional money template that helps you identify when you are spending for comfort. Grab it below:
Be Interested in Finances
You do need to care for this to work.
If you’ve never taken an interest in things like budgeting, saving and investing, now is the time to start.
Here are a few posts to get you started:
It may be new for you it may even bore you to tears!
Try to think of it as your healthy financial eating plan.
Cake is always more fun but afterwards makes you feel sick.
Vegetables aren’t as appealing but make you feel healthier and more vibrant as a person.
Same for your money, if you take care of your cash like you do your diet, you’ll feel so much better in the long run. You really want to avoid financial cancer!
Learn how to take care of future you so you can live a long and happy financial life. Once you are the financially empowered version of you, think of how proud of yourself you’ll be.
You can also inspire your spendy friends as well!
Do whatever you can to find a way to be interested, otherwise change just won’t last.
Improve Your Financial Skills
In order to be financially empowered you need to know the practical side of how to actually do this. Learn all you can by doing a combination of the following:
- Read blogs (like mine ?)
- Take courses
- Read books
- Talk and learn from people
- Join Money FB groups
- Listen to financial podcasts
- Subscribe to a finance YouTube channel
- Learn to understand the finance reports on the news
- Read the financial times
- Borrow money books and magazines from the library
Going to university and doing a financial planning and finance degree really changed my life. I know that no one will be able to pull the wool over my eyes and my studies gave me the financial confidence I need to speak up for myself and others when it comes to money matters.
I see time and time again women in groups asking questions over and over. which health insurance should I choose? I’ve got this car insurance is it a good deal? How much should I be spending on my electricity bill? Etc.
If they had the financial skills and confidence to be able to compare for themselves, they wouldn’t be in Facebook groups getting unqualified advice from random people.
If you remain uneducated in regards to your money you will always need advice from others and remain disempowered.
Educating yourself is the first step to being financially self-reliant and moving away from dependence.
Surround Yourself with Good Money Friends
Have you ever tried to quit drinking? I am at the moment and it’s really hard to stick to.
In Australia we have quite the drinking culture. People who drink alcohol spend more than those who drink tea and coffee! Source
If you aren’t drinking you make everyone else uncomfortable. They can’t relax and enjoy themselves because they know you’re going to remember everything because you’re sober haha.
When changing your spending habits you may encounter some resistance from your friends because your new improved behaviour quite often makes them feel bad about theirs.
Taking a break from the catch ups at the shopping centre may feel like social suicide but it doesn’t have to be forever. It’s actually really brave to honour yourself like this and to want to improve.
Good friends should support you, just like you would if it was them. If your friends aren’t on board with your new goals to be financially empowered maybe it is actually a good thing to leave them behind.
Friends should support and inspire you to be the best you can be. It’s much easier to succeed with money when you are surrounded by women who think the same way as you.
Create Positive Financial Habits
Trying to change everything at once is not the way to go.
I find tiny manageable change works like a charm because it’s less painful.
An example of this might be halving the amount of takeaway coffee you have instead of quitting altogether, or just writing down what you spend for a week without any commitment to change anything.
Small improvements overtime can really add up down the track. Think of each little change as a brick in the wall of your new financial empowerment home.
Try starting with some of these:
- Review your bank account once a day
- Reduce your grocery shopping by 10% each week
- Start tracking your purchases each week
- Each week read one financial related article
- Don’t buy any music or apps online for a week
- Pay $10 a week extra on your credit card
- Each time you get a bill, set up a direct debit so it’s paid on time
- Check your receipts to make sure they have charged you correctly
- No takeaway for a week
Once you can do these easily you can move on to more challenging changes but start slow and gradually. Don’t make it too epic or you’ll find it hard to stick with it long term.
Make it a Priority to Become Financially Empowered
Schedule time in your diary for financial health related tasks and make it a priority.
Don’t put it off.
Recognise the avoidance when it comes up, push on and do it. You need to find a way to make these feel urgent for you otherwise they will fall to the bottom of your to-do list and never get done.
Think of your future you and do it for her.
She is really counting on you to do your budget and to learn how to change your situation for good.
Practice your Financial Skills
You don’t learn how to ride a bike by reading about it. Therefore, building your financial skills isn’t going to happen by just reading about it either.
Action is required in order to move forward.
Ways to practice your money skills are:
- Delaying gratification
- Intentional spending
- Talking about money
- Asking for a raise
The more you practice the better you will get.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggle at first, the fact that you are trying is what is important.
You don’t yell at a baby for falling over when it’s learning to walk so be kind to yourself here. I know you can do this.
Think Positively About Money
Quite often women who have had a rough time in regards to being financially vulnerable have a lot of fear associated with money (rightly so).
Building money confidence and feeling capable with money related tasks goes a long way to changing your financial behaviours.
Journaling can help work through these feelings. Spending time each day to write money affirmations can help reframe this fear into confidence.
Write down your negative feelings about money and rewrite your money story in the way you prefer it to be. Eg Negative belief – I never have enough money, I’m always so broke.
Rewrite it – I spend money on things that are important to me and always make sure I have some left over for emergencies. I am in control of my financial life and make responsible decisions around money.
If you allocate 15 minutes a day and really feel what you are writing is your reality, you will feel a shift.
When you are frazzled and overwhelmed is where you can make poor financial decisions.
You can’t help but make better decisions when you feel calmer about money tasks.
Thinking positively really helps. Give it a try and see for yourself.
Make the Most of What You Have
I always try to be grateful for what I have. Even when there are times I feel I lacking compared to others.
Thinking about how to make the most of your current situation helps your mindset and good things will eventually come your way if you work at it.
If you are on a single income and a mother at home with a toddler or baby, know that it won’t always be that way. You can use your situation to read financial books or take an online course when bub is napping.
If you work a soul sucking job that pays peanuts, use your commute or weekends to reskill so you can get out of there and get a better paying job.
If you currently have time but no money then make your own food, tend to a vegetable patch or learn how to sew. Make your budget stretch as far as you can.
Assess your waste. Do you have clothes you don’t wear and are you constantly throwing food in the bin? Be more efficient with the money you have and buy less of what you don’t use.
Strive for More
If you are a financially empowered woman you will always be striving for more. You believe in abundance and will be confident in your ability to create and retain your own wealth.
You will value your skills and won’t undercharge for your services.
If you are being underpaid you will (politely) query it.
A financially empowered woman knows she will be respected when she conducts herself professionally and charges a fair rate for the value customers are receiving. Because this lady charges more she is generous when it comes to giving and can do so without leaving her family at a disadvantage.
A financially empowered woman works hard and expects to be appreciated but doesn’t hesitate to move on when she’s not. She is always learning new skills and adjusts her charges to reflect the increase in value she provides her clients and employers.
Actions you can take
Planning where you want to go professionally helps enormously with your money situation.
If you are passive and only take opportunities as they present themselves you will never increase your earnings in any significant way.
Start thinking about preparing for your next wage review and asking for more. Be prepared with all the data and examples on how you have contributed to the company’s bottom line due to increased efficiencies or profits.
If the wage negotiation doesn’t go as you hope, be sure to ask how you can get a wage lift next time and the actions you need to get it.
Then go and do them really well ?.
For freelancers do market research and make sure you are charging a fair price in your market. If you aren’t currently earning what you want take a course and improve your skills so you can.
Brainstorm other services your clients are desperately needing and learn how to do them well. Soon they won’t be able to live without you.
Be Strategic About Gathering in Demand Skills
One of the ways to become financially empowered is to increase your human capital.
This is important because it improves your income and job security by building skills others will pay for and become your own income generating asset.
Ways to do this:
- Study – online or in person
- Always be learning
- Be a detective and look at problems people around you are having – can you solve them?
If you are a stay at home mother you could look for income opportunities around you.
How much money do you think a new parent would pay you to help their baby stop screaming and sleep for more than 2 hours in a row? I’ve seen parents offering $1000 ha ha.
Babysitting around Christmas is popular too!
A lady in my business planning class offered me $500 to finish hers because she was over it ?
Use that beautiful brain of yours and get creative.
There are desperate people out there with problems you can solve. They will pay you well to make them go away and love you to pieces for it.
Being Financially Empowered is Making Smart Decisions
Financial vulnerability can get worse when major purchases and poor decisions collide.
Always think about ways you can get what you want without breaking your budget into tiny pieces and tying yourself to a massive mortgage or car payment.
I saw a post the other day by the Simple Dollar talking about in the US you can get a car loan with 84 month term! How are you going to feel in 7 years still paying off your loan when it’s nearly heading to the wreckers? Not very happy I’m guessing.
If you have to finance something for that long to afford the repayments, you really can’t afford it at all.
Knowing when and how to use finance is a financial skill you can learn that will have a significant improvement on your long term wealth.
You won’t finance a depreciating asset if you are a financially empowered woman because you know the car will be a drain on your cash flow and credit rating.
When shopping for expensive items, you will take your time and do your research.
You have highly creative money skills when thinking how you can still get what you want but pay less for it, once you are empowered financially.
Does it Have to Be New?
Ask yourself does it have to be new? Can you get a second hand option, can you lease or borrow? Do you have to make the purchase at all?
With major purchases it always is wise to take your time and do your research. Make sure you can still afford the repayments if your income drops or unexpected expenses arise.
Do not work at the top of your budget, even if you can get the finance as there’s no wiggle room if things go wrong.
You Want it, but Do You Really (Honestly) Need it?
Cars and homes are really emotional purchases so be aware of the difference between what you actually need and what you want.
Everyone wants a big house with a yard for the kids (or future kids) but is it necessary? Can you buy something smaller to do for now and turn it into a rental when you have your Brady bunch and reduce your new mortgage.
Families living in cities make do in tiny apartments, so it is possible. Don’t let the romantic idea of the white picket fence push you into a financial pickle.
Big houses aren’t just the ticket price; they take more money for furniture, heating and insurance. Transfer, inspection and purchase fees add up too.
With cars, research insurance, running and servicing costs as they can be a lot and are ongoing costs you have to fund.
Source all Data Before Deciding
When you are considering major purchases write every single related cost down, so you know exactly what you are getting into.
Then you can compare the different options more easily. With buying a car consider insurance, after market accessories, on road costs, price of tyres, petrol, servicing and suitability for your use (sports car for a family of 6??)
Whatever decision you are facing think of all the possible related costs and write them down. That is the true cost of your purchase.
With elements of the decision making process that aren’t financial but still have significant bearing on the outcome (like pressure on the family when working interstate) write down the pros and cons and combine with the financials in order to make your decision making more balanced.
It needs to make sense from a practical perspective as well. No point in working interstate to earn more money if your family hate you.
Rank the pros and cons and look to see if you can live with the outcome either way.
Then move on and look at the finances. Most importantly, make these decisions after you have received all information and advice from professionals if required.
Don’t be Pushed into Things
Make sure you are calm and in a good strong place emotionally when going into negotiations.
Commisioned sales people often use marketing tactics like scarcity (eg price goes up next week) to rush a decision.
Do not be rushed or pressured due to other people’s deadlines.
You always have a right to say no thanks or to ask for more time. If it helps just think how expensive being nice is lol.
If you feel this pressure, it’s a red flag and you should slow things down or walk away if you have to.
The decision has to be right for you. Making important decisions can be really overwhelming but take it a step at a time, break it down and detach from the emotion and you’ll be just fine.
Thank you for sticking with this epic post. Are you now inspired to embrace the financially empowered you?
I hope you now know what being financially empowered is and you have some useful strategies to help you get there.
There seems like a lot to cover but really it’s making developing financial skills a priority in your life, learning what you can and making small steps every day towards improving.
What are you struggling about with your financial confidence?
Is it decision paralysis or not saying no?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
Money is only hard when you don’t have the knowledge or confidence to deal with it. You’ve got that covered now.
So go and get on with embracing change and becoming the new Financially Empowered you.
I know you can do it. Much love Beth x