When shit hits the fan, do you have enough money to support yourself? If you lose your job tomorrow, do you have a 6 month emergency fund? If your home caught on fire, do you have insurance and savings to rebuild your devastating living situation? If your husband divorces you, do you have enough money to support yourself? If you found out you had a life-threatening disease, do you have enough money to cover co-pays, assuming you have employer insurance? If you require major surgery that will cost you $2,000 or more of out-of-pocket expenses, do you have enough in your savings account? If you found out you were pregnant tomorrow, can you provide for two?
The Bottom Line? You can only count on yourself.
Crisis occurs in cycles and, oftentimes, when you least expect it. Life is notorious for throwing a curve ball and how you react to it very much depends on your level of financial freedom. Since majority of us are not trust fund babies, you have to prepare yourself for a financial crisis. How you react will depend on the amount of savings you’ve accrued.
Women, I cannot stress this enough, you need to be strategic in your investments and spending habits. Statistically, women are better home money managers than their male partners, yet when faced with the consequences of divorce, a woman’s standard of living can drop up to 27% after a divorce, while a man’s standard may rise by 10%, according to the National Marriage Project. As we all know, there is still a significant wage gap between men and women and men are still more likely to be promoted to managerial positions faster than women. Furthermore, women are more likely to sacrifice full-time work to be at home with their children. When women leave the workforce, their experiences slowly expire and their skill sets become outdated and irrelevant. They may also be forced to take a pay cut when returning to the workplace.
Financial dependence is truly burdensome and can disrupt your health and wellness or even force you to compromise your moral principle and standard of living. An independent woman has personal consolation on knowing that through her own skills and hard work, she can survive without depending on friends, family, or a partner.
Retain a Competitive Earning Ability.
- Create a safeguard by increasing savings and reducing debt. Learn to Live with less.
- Improve your employee value and earning potential by pioneering a more efficient and creative process at work, sharing the results with your manager and team members. If your role is more specialist, initiate new projects that expand into other areas and create results-driven solutions, to demonstrate both your breadth of knowledge and versatility. If your role is more generalist, dive deep into a topic that is valued by your employer and shows that you can add a layer of depth to your broad job function.
- Never become complacent with your job and salary. Acquire new skills or technologies. If you’ve always wanted a master’s degree, go for it now. As much as investing in higher education is pooh-poohed on these days, as a female, you should strive to attain post-education in this ever so cut-throat and competitive world.
- If you are sacrificing a career to be a stay-at-home mom, consider part-time consulting and freelancing. Remain employable by updating your skills through online training, and stay on top of current trends in your industry by reading trade publications and attending networking events. Single women, if you are considering children in the future, as many of you are, begin to cultivate your entrepreneurial skills in your area of expertise, conversely;
- if you hate your job and industry, get out of it the smart way. Start building a business on the side in a field that you are passionate about. You can then transition into your desired role full-time once you’ve grown a solid clientele following and steady income that will cover your expenses. If you’d like to become a food writer full-time, start freelancing with food magazines and online platforms, blogging, and attending food networking events to rub elbows with established industry leaders.
- Pursue sideline jobs. These are jobs that you are passionate about. You may not get paid as much as your full-time job, but that tiny income accumulates wealth over time by adding eggs to your financial basket.
- Find a mentor. Post-MBA students with mentors were more likely to get a better job. Men with mentors are 93 percent and women are 56 percent more likely to get a mid-level or higher managerial role compared to their peers without mentors. This person should have the tools and experience to help you grow in the direction you need to be going in your career.
Taking financial ownership of your finances, by spending responsibly and saving today, will create a personal safety net, garner self-respect, and pave the path to financial freedom.