Ladies: It’s time to take charge of our financial destinies
There was a time not too long ago when I would proudly declare that I was a feminist who had rejected all of the “happily ever after” and “Prince Charming comes to rescue the damsel in distress” narratives.
I was going to make my OWN money. I was going to be in charge of my OWN financial destiny. I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for a man to come and rescue me. I was going to run my OWN business and be about MY business.
My financial habits and my financial life said something different.
I recently met with a financial advisor because one of my mantras this year is to: Always be upgrading. I know my financial life needs an upgrade and I decided that NOW was the time to do something about it.
As we sat there goal setting and discussing facts and figures, I thought about how I have not been as proactive as I needed to be about my financial destiny.
What was holding me back from not being in charge of my financial destiny?
I was living my life as if I were holding out for a hero.
Holding out for a hero
I am in my mid 30’s and unmarried.
As a Millennial my story is mot unique. As a matter of fact just anecdotally it’s more UNCOMMON that my friends are MARRIED in their mid 30’s than unmarried.
The data somewhat backs me up on this. People are getting married later and marriage is on the decline.
According to Pew Research, Back in 1963, the average age a woman got married was 21, and the average age a man did was 23.
The average age of a Millennial’s (first) marriage has increased several years since then, to 27 for women and 29 for men, according to a 2015 Pew Research survey.
A 2016 Gallup Poll says that 59% of Millennials have never been married.
There are many reasons for this but one of the main reasons cited is the weak economy. When the economy is weak, then the marriage rates go down.
With astronomical student debt, soaring rent, and stagnant wages, for many millennials now is not a good time to get married and generally when the economy is bad, marriage rates go down.
I believe that for many millennial women (including myself) have not taken charge of our financial destinies because we are subconsciously holding out for a hero.
Yes, we who champion “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that means, Girl Bosses, and who runs the world are holding out for a hero.
We tell ourselves that we’ll start worrying about our finances and building wealth when we meet our hero and we start building our empire together.
We tell ourselves that we will start to make those big investment decisions about once we’re coupled up and in our happily-ever-after scenario.
Even though on the surface we know that depending on others as financial plans is unwise, there’s still a part of us that wants to believe that our financial outlook will be more clear once we find our hero.
This is simply not true.
We must take control of our Financial Destinies NOW….As in RIGHT NOW. You don’t know WHAT will happen even if you do find a life partner.
There are so many women now who thought they would have a happily ever after fairy tale and are now living a nightmare: whether it’s your partner deciding to leave you for another person, a sudden death, or allowing you partner to handle their finances only to find out (when it is too late that it was all built on a house was a of cards)
As I sat there with my wonderful financial advisor Lisa thinking about why I had not taken the steps to empower myself financially, I came to this grim realization:
I was waiting.
I was waiting until I got married.
I was waiting until my future felt more “adult” and “secure”.
I was waiting for someone else.
I was holding out for a hero.
Ladies, We simply CANNOT afford to do this and place our financial destinies in someone else’s hands. We must be proactive.
Tips to taking control of your financial destiny
- Get clarity on your financial life: How much do you have saved? How much debt do you have? Do you have any insurance policies?
- Seek out a Trusted Financial Advisor for a consultation: Lay it all out on the table. Talk about your goals and what type of lifestyle you would like to live.
- Begin to track your spending habits: How much are you spending on groceries? How much do you spend on entertainment? How much do you spend at Starbucks? Gain clarity about your spending habits so that you can make necessary changes in order to accomplish your financial goals. You cannot change what you don’t track. Also once you start tracking your habits will begin to change.
- Stop holding out for a hero. He (or she) is not coming. If you’re waiting until you meet, “the one” to worry about your finances, then it is already too late. This isn’t the 1950’s. Many people are coming into relationships with debt and you have to talk about this. Also many women AND men are financially illiterate. When you marry someone, you are also marrying their finances. Expecting that the person you marry is going to solve your financial issues is a set up for failure. Finances are amongst the leading causes of divorce. It’s best to be upfront and honest about your financial life and habits rather than be invested and realize you’ve made a big mistake.
- Stay the course: Just like physical fitness, getting financially fit takes time. Real transformation will always take time and patience. Don’t give up because your progress is slow. The more awareness you have about your financial life, the more focused you will be, and the more committed you will be to making positive changes!
If you enjoyed this story, then please click the heart. In the Comments section I’d like to hear which tip you will be implementing into your life.