7 Important things women can do for themselves and their financial future

I don't know how many times I've seen women delegate their financial security to a spouse or significant other and allow divorce or death to plunge them into poverty. 

In my own personal journey I've learned that assertiveness, openness to change, and an optimistic outlook are the qualities that tend to lead to smart money choices. I've also learned that my beliefs about money and my emotional attachments to it strongly influence the way I spend and handle money.

When I realised that I was struggling to take care of my finances I resolved to work on the money issues that I had and interestingly many of the other problems I had took care of themselves. 

So if you aren't where you should be financially, examine what drives you emotionally when it comes to money and try to figure out the psychological stumbling blocks that keep you from becoming financially independent. 

The markets do not discriminate and your money can earn and grow just like anyone else’s if and when you apply tried and tested investment strategies.

Here are seven of the most important things women can do for themselves and their financial future:

1. I am the the key to my own financial futures and so are you. That is why I spend time educating myself about finances. This has helped me to make good financial decisions, avoid scams, and pile up my investments and savings.  When you learn about personal finance, you’ll learn even more strategies to help you save money for your goals in life. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more you do better. 

2. I've learned to ask for help. To create wealth and claim our power as women, we need support…from other women, mentors and financial experts. Until you ask, you don’t know who other people know. Sure, no one can take responsibility for us. But we cannot—should not—do it alone. Like Karen Kleiman, "there is no shame in asking for help. It is what strong women do to engage the support of others in order to maximize their own resources." Powerful!

3. When I started to really focus on my financial well-being, I made a lot of mistakes. And I had to learn to forgive myself and be patient with myself. Experience is the ultimate financial teacher – for better or for worse. So, I encourage your to learn from your money mistakes and don't let them drag you down.  Like Oprah said, "there is no such thing as failure." Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. So forget about your past mistakes and the oversights and be happy that in the fact that you’re getting your financial act together starting now.

4. I'm the first to admit that it’s hard to keep the blinders on and not compare my financial life to others. However, it is really important to be clear about what matters to me most and to make sure that I build a financial plan that supports that vision. Forget what other people’s goals are, just focus on your own. And of course, no matter where any of us are financially, there is always room for improvement, and that’s where all of our attention should be going. Another thing is being grateful for what you already have is a powerful thing. When we forget to be grateful, we become envious of others instead. So exercise gratitude. 

5. Money is nice,  I mean it buys all the nice things I need. But I had to stop using it to make myself feel good. I've learned that this type of high is fleeting and dangerous. It's the reason why I got into debt. So now, what I do is concentrate on things that build my self worth so that I don't have to seek those feelings through spending money.  You can do the same too. Focus on what makes you YOU. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you take the time to look at yourself in a positive light, it can help with raising self-esteem.

6. For the past 6 years I've been maintaining a lifestyle I can sustain. This has been the most important thing that I did for myself. If you live in a manner that’s far too frugal and deprive yourself all the time, you'll eventually counter-balance by overspending. If your expenses exceed your income it doesn’t matter how much you earn, you are living below your means. If you save/invest some money and cover all your bills with the rest, you’ve done your job. A balanced lifestyle complete with occasional indulgences in the things you value most, will help you to maintain strong financial habits over the long run.

7. With the lifestyle champagne that's flaunted on every social media it's important to keep your eye on the prize. Staying focused on your goals take discipline and determination. Saving can be easy and exciting at first, but after a while you may lose that initial motivation and start to find other things you can spend that money on. To avoid veering off course, check in with your goals regularly and keep your eye on the prize. If you need to get professional help. 

What ideas do you have that can help women to improve their financial well-being? 

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