During last year’s Women’s History Month, I found an article by one of my favorite financial experts Lynnette Khalfani Cox (www.themoneycoach.net). The article was inspired by last year’s WHM themes, Women’s Education and Women’s Empowerment. The information is definitely still relevant and useful. Do you feel like you’re financially savvy? Well according to Lynnette Khalfani Cox, there are six ways to know for sure.
Number One: You work with an updated budget. This means that you are conscious of exactly how much it costs to cover your living expenses. You should know how much money you make each month and how much goes to your bills. If you have a spouse or significant other, you should also know how much they make and spend as well. Your budget should be updated regularly. This can help you maintain a financially healthy lifestyle, avoiding debt and irresponsible spending.
Number Two: You have savings goals and plans to reach them. There are various savings accounts available: CD, money market, traditional savings accounts, etc. Financially savvy women know the difference between them and how the values of their returns contribute to their goals. You should also have short term and long term financial goals, and plans to reach them. This may include enlisting the help of a professional (Certified financial planner, accountant, broker, etc).
Number three: You are not dependent on credit cards. Financially savvy women know how to live within their means. While credit cards are convenient, they can easily lead you down the perpetual “rabbit hole” of bad credit. Credit card debt is considered “bad debt”, so it is important to use credit cards wisely. Most financial experts advise that responsible use of credit doesn’t exceed 30% of your available credit limit. If you’re financially savvy, you recognize the importance of paying all bills on time and in full (including credit cards). Paying only the minimum balance costs you more in the long run, as well as hurting your credit.
Number Four: You have a solid emergency fund. Financially savvy women actively plan for “rainy days”, by allocating money each month to an emergency fund. It is commonly recommended that you have three to six months worth of living expenses in savings. A year or more is ideal. You never know what can happen, from the loss of a job to unforeseen medical expenses so it’s best to be prepared.
Number five: You don’t abdicate financial responsibility. No woman who is financially savvy leaves their finances solely in the hands of others (not parents, spouse, significant others). This means that you are responsible for your money. As Lynette said, “No one is going to care more about your finances than you”.
Number 6: You think long-term and act accordingly. In your 20’s and 30’s, it’s very easy to only think of now. Financially savvy women think of both the present and the future. However, they don’t just think, they act. They proactively develop a plan to protect themselves, their families, and their assets. This can include investing for retirement, purchasing life insurance, and creating a will. So after reading this, are you financially savvy? If you answered “no”, the good news is that you can be! Simply use this article as a guide, and you’ll be on your way. Don't forget to visit me at www.thelisfor.com.
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