According to a recent study, 66% of women aged 40 – 79 have experienced a major financial transition such as a divorce or becoming widowed. Sadly it is in that time of emotional upheaval that they falter in the face of not having learned the money game.
And this is totally through no fault of their own as women’s exclusion from this game has deep historical roots. For centuries we were treated as inferior, lacking in financial ability and incompetent when it came to money. It has certainly left an unconscious scar as a result, and many women are inclined to give away their money power.
At this juncture in history where we are creating our own opportunities and breaking through so many historical barriers it’s time we addressed a fundamental issue, taking back our financial power.
Why is it so important for women to be the masters of their own money?
Freedom and Independence
This lack of “control of the purse strings” or not having money has kept women prisoners in our lives. This may not always be an uncomfortable prison, as we can get complacent with feeling looked after and safe, but circumstances change. Marriages end. The one being taken care of becomes the caregiver and fortunes can be lost.
Where the prison is a true prison filled with marital strife or career dissatisfaction, not having money means not having choices. A little money of our own and the knowledge of how to manage it means we have the freedom to take our own path, to change the things that make us unhappy and to know that no matter what the outcome, we can take care of ourselves.
Women generally live longer than men on average by 6 to 8 years and typically retire on pensions a 55% lower than men’s as a result of taking time out from the workplace to raise a family or care for loved ones, historically earning less and having less disposable income and less to invest. In order to solve the longevity and having enough money equation women need to build on their financial intelligence and take control of their own money.
Money confidence is the key to many things in life but never more so than when it comes to having enough money in retirement. To get money confident means getting comfortable with having money, with managing it and with choosing an investing strategy to reach our financial targets. All very daunting sounding words but in choosing to take that first simple step of getting educated about money we are taking a giant leap into creating our stable financial reality.
Maslow in his hierarchy of needs, described self-actualisation as optimal creativity, well-being and self-transcendence. Worrying about money, not having money or not understanding how it works creates a huge block in our creativity and innovation. The independence and confidence that comes from having our own money and understanding it unlocks a world of opportunity for our creativity and the space for it to thrive.
Desire to contribute
Empowering women means empowering communities. According to the World Bank, studies show that when income is in the hands of the women positive changes happen in society. Women are powerful agents for the acceleration and advancement of societal needs and by increasing the resources available to us we can step into our role of change maker, and start to make those positive changes in the world.
What could happen if women had their own money
Imagine a world where women had an equal say in outcomes, equal access to resources and equal opportunities. Decisions could be more equitable, viewpoints would be more balanced, coming from all stakeholders affected, and outcomes could be fairer. And all this simply by women having money of their own and the confidence to manage it for the good of themselves and others.
That future is possible. We all have a chance to change our financial future.
Michelle Manuel is a former DrivenWoman members in London, founder of HerWealthIQ, a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Women's Wealth Coach.
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