By Erin Weber, Financial Advisor with The Weber Group at Hefren-Tillotson, Inc., and PA Women Work volunteer and supporter
A lack of financial literacy among women can affect their ability to accumulate and manage assets, and secure a promising financial future. The basic problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know, until we don’t know it. Learning the basics of saving, budgeting, and investing, will set you up for financial freedom and prevent disasters from occurring.
Below are five simple steps that you can take to help lead you to financial success. As Warren Buffet states, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” The time is now. Put your needs first, and everything else can follow suit.
1. Put yourself first - A man is not a plan! Take the time to learn and educate yourself to become financially literate. Having basic financial knowledge will allow you to guide and plan for your OWN success.
2. Set SMART goals - Don’t be a dummy, be SMART by setting goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. This will allow you to set the foundation for future success, both personally and financially.
3. Budget - Don’t live the rosé life, on a Miller Lite budget! Budgeting is a physical practice, not mental. Identify what you value most by creating a budget sheet. This will show you how much money is coming in, and how it is going out. Your budget sheet will give you the opportunity to evaluate your true needs and wants to ensure that your values are in line with your beliefs and your budget.
4. Pay off debt - Paying off debt can be very liberating. Pay off your most expensive debt first, the debt with the highest interest rate. Once you are debt free, you can shift and start saving even more for your future.
5. Save…save…save! - Pay yourself first! If you want that Louis Vuitton tomorrow, you need to save today. Start saving from day one: your first paycheck. This will allow you to learn to live without that income. You never saw it, therefore it is like it never existed.
The sooner you start planning and saving, the better off you will be. However, it is never too late to take hold of your finances. In fact, it is better late than NEVER. Putting off until tomorrow, for what you should be doing today, is a recipe for disaster in all aspects of life. Stop the storm, and create the sunshine for your bright financial future today.