Each year, August 14th marks National Financial Awareness Day. While women are stepping up to the role of finance both personally and professionally, did you know that nearly one-third of the gender financial literacy gap is attributed to women’s lower confidence levels around the topic?
In my house growing up, Dad managed our finances. When he passed away suddenly my mother had to take on this role, and had no experience whatsoever. The lesson? Understanding your finances is one of the many ways women can be more in control of their lives and decisions being made that affect their futures.
There is no better time than now to address any lack of education, awareness and, most importantly, confidence in your finances. With tools to empower yourself in your personal and professional life, you can be your own advocate when it comes to managing your money.
Financial Literacy in Your Personal Life
Invest in Your Education and Yourself
There are several financial literacy courses that are affordable, accessible and available to complete on your own timeline. Educating yourself on topics such as taking out loans, creating a budget, and investing in the stock market can help you stay out of excessive debt and in a positive financial standing to achieve your goals. There’s nothing better than being in control of your finances to help you feel more secure!
Pro tip: If you have a side hustle, finally taking that leap of faith and opening up your own small business can also allow you to get firsthand financial experience.
Budget for Important Life Events
Whether it be getting married, having a child, moving to a new state or switching careers, budgeting for these milestone events will put your mind at ease and help when unexpected things happen that you cannot anticipate. I’m looking at you car trouble.
With convenient online resources planning and budgeting for big events, such as buying a home, can be less stressful. For example, with online mortgage preapproval tools, you can determine how much home you can afford in a matter of minutes. Approaching these significant financial moments with confidence, thanks to prior planning and proper tool use, can not only improve your ability to make informed decisions but also help make better use of your existing budget.
Hire a Coach
Coaching services can include mindfulness, relationship, leadership, career and financial coaching. Many coaches have their own online or in-person resources too. Together, coaching and these resources are a great way to provide a sense of motivation, encouragement and self-discovery that could ultimately lead to great levels of self-confidence.
Other resources aside from your coach include ebooks, podcasts or even social media videos, some of which are from female TikTok stars or must-follow Instagram financial gurus themselves. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a trustworthy source of information.
Manage Your Household’s Finances
If you aren’t already doing so, make sure you are aware of and involved in your household finances. How much debt does your family have? What are the monthly expenses? What are your investments? What interest rates are you earning and paying? Do you have emergency savings? If so, how much? Knowing and being involved in these decisions is critical for your financial literacy.
Pro tip: If you’re new to finances, be patient with yourself as you learn the ins and outs of the financial world and its jargon.
Financial Literacy in Your Professional Life
Your Company Benefits and Policies
Knowing more about your company retirement options, offer letter language, salary/overtime requirements, healthcare coverage and dental/vision plans can better help you understand where a portion of your money from each paycheck is going.
Even as an experienced employee, individual meetings with HR or office hours with managers could be a great refresher.
Questions about existing programs and resources available to employees about financial independence will not only benefit you, but everyone else too. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else on your team or in your department will too. You will not only be an advocate for them, but everyone.
Find a Group of People with a Similar Curiosity About Financial Literacy
By finding individuals who are equally interested in improving their financial skills, you can create a group of passionate people.
An easy way to do this would be through a group chat or channel on a messaging platform to allow remote or in-person employees to all be a part of the conversation. Articles and resources can be shared in this group too to provide expert insight and sources.
Suggest an Employee Financial Literacy Program if One Isn’t Already in Place
Similar to online databases and other resources that companies pay for on behalf of all employees, your employer may be willing to fund financial literacy programs. Financial literacy programs also benefit companies by improving retention rates, as employees feel that they are being given the tools to succeed in every area of their lives. A great way start these programs is by asking for employee feedback in the form of forums, surveys or meetings on what topics around personal finances would be most valuable in their daily lives.
In both your personal and professional life, it is equally as important to be assertive with your finances and money. By improving your financial literacy at home and in the (Zoom) office, you can take control of your life and future.