Women and Money
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a very unbalanced economic impact on women, in comparison to men.
Women across the world (not only in South Africa) earn considerably less than men who do the same work. This is incredibly sad, but true.
Whilst going to work and earning money, women are also still expected to see to the home and the children. Lockdown has seen many women have to work from home (even at lower salaries) whilst still looking after the domestic chores in the house and looking after the children, their schoolwork and their needs. Not forgetting the needs of their husbands / partners.
Yet, as always – women have risen to the occasion. Excelling at multi-tasking and making the best of a bad situation. That’s what we do. It’s what we have always done. So, why the world still thinks that women cannot handle money is beyond me!
I realise that we sit with a lot of emotional and historical baggage where money is concerned. Not many of us grew up in households where we were exposed to positive conversations about money – and even though our mother’s may have managed our finances – our fathers were “in charge” of it. Financial literacy and education in our schooling system was then, and remains now, virtually non-existent. What we learnt from money, we learnt from our experiences.
Women need to know that they are equipped and have what it takes to successfully manage their money – and better yet, successfully manage their own money as well as the money in the home. In these crazy times, women need to have the ability to be in control of the finances.
Here are a few tips for my ladies out there
- Don’t be scared to take charge
Try not to rely on a husband or boyfriend to make financial decisions. Don’t give them the satisfaction of saying that you “don’t know anything about money.” Make the effort to become informed about money via the internet. Read articles. Ask questions. Make decisions.
- Make the effort to be involved in every aspect of money in the home.
Whether you work, or are a homemaker – don’ t be content to be told that “you don’t need to know about those things.”
Make sure that you know all the details of your debt, your accounts, your home loans and your insurances. Many women, who stay in the background of money matters in the home, are left dumbfounded, devastated and distraught when death – and divorce from a partner comes around.
- Draw up a budget and speak to your family about it.
A budget will not only be beneficial to your finances – but will also give you a sense of control and increase your confidence. If your budget is not working out – have the confidence to discuss this with your partner and the rest of the family. Just because our parents never spoke to us about money, does not mean that we shouldn’t be speaking to our children about it.
- Set goals
Whether you have investments, an ordinary savings account or even if you just save your money in a hidden jar – set a savings goal and work towards it. Stop unnecessary spending. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s taught us to save for a rainy day.
- Get a money buddy
For whatever reasons, you may not feel comfortable to speak to your husband/ partner about money – but it is important that are able to become comfortable speaking about your finances. The best way to do this is to get a money-buddy. A sister or a friend who you can trust and who you can also learn from.
- Make the effort to un-clutter your finances like you do your closet
When clothes don’t fit or we haven’t worn them in a while – we sort through them and give them away, to make space which can be better utilized. We should be doing the same with our finances. Get out the statements, check if you are paying for magazines you don’t read or policies you have no use for. Now is the time to get rid of unnecessary subscriptions and payments.
Whether we work or stay at home, women are often the backbone of the household finances. Giving us the right to take charge of money isn’t something that we should be denied, or deny ourselves. Let us not be left financially devastated when death, divorce or circumstances beyond our control come our way. We have what it takes to manage money. Always have and always will. Step up and own it.
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