Women & Financial Independence.

A friend once posted a picture of an abandoned old lady in FB. The picture says a thousand words, needless to read the whole story. It received comments, expressions of anger and disappointment from many who read about it. I felt sorry for the lady too. Sadly, it’s not just her, there are many others out there, sharing the same fate. Some abandoned on the street, government hospitals, sent to homes without visitors for as long as one can remember, etc. Someone once told me that, a mother can raise 12 children but none of them could take care of 1 aging mother, despite these children being well-educated and successful in their careers.

Most women till today, live by the “Burnt Toast Syndrome“. What do I mean by that? Let’s say, there are only 4 slices of toasts for breakfast in the house, a slice for each person (husband, 2 children and self). Unfortunately, one is burnt. Now, do you know who gets the burnt toast? Most often than not, it’s the woman who took the burnt toast. As a loving and selfless person, she would save the best or better ones for her family. Her needs come after theirs are met.

Having said that, I ask of you to permit yourself to receiving some TLC (tender loving care). Do pay some special attention to yourself without feeling guilty. Still remember one of the safety procedures during inflight emergency? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others put on theirs. When you are safely secured, you can then turn to the next person to help out. Less panic and more gets done. Same goes to our lives. While we are committed to take great care of our beloved family, we owe it to ourselves the same treatment too. A contented and happy woman can do much more for her family.

Women championed as jugglers. In order to be a good juggler, a woman has to keep herself well, not just physically, emotionally and spiritually but financially too. Women are great planners. We plan so well for our families that we can complete so many tasks in one day from various places! Amazing! But, what about planning for our financial independence? It’s the greatest gift one can give to herself. Remember the “Burnt Toast Syndrome“? Don’t limit yourself with what is placed in front of you. You have other choices.

That brings me to say something about Women and Money. Before you start to say “Money Isn’t Everything!“, I’d like to add, “Everything Is Money!“. There’ll be a time in life when you come to full realisation that this is in fact, a big-time material world. Without money, you can’t get many things done. I’ve witnessed how money works, especially in your golden years. When you are financially secured, you have nothing much to worry about in your old age. You do not depend on your children or relatives to care for you. You can seek better medical care, have better diet, travel as you like, live your life the way you want it and you’ll never be a burden to your children or siblings.

How can you achieve that? Simply by changing your mindset and the way you treat money. Firstly, women must understand how we feel when it comes to finances. We just want peace of mind, or certainty to a certain degree. We want to know that whatever happens in the future, financially, we can handle it well. Women who are in charge of their financial lives have higher self-confidence and self-esteem. They feel better about themselves and their relationship with their loved ones grow stronger. Why is that so is simply because they live well. They know they deserve to enjoy all the wonderful things in life. In such a financial state, it frees you and gives you more time and means to do what you want and like.

Next will be the way you treat money : When it comes to finances, most women allow the men to make key financial decisions as they thought it is a subject mastered by men. They honestly believe that men are better with money and at investing. Even though we could come up with a better financial solution or idea, women tend to keep mum and not challenge the men’s decisions! When it comes to retirement planning, many women leave it to the men (The Provider).

Women are lacking in financial planning but they are in fact, disciplined savers. They put aside some cash regularly to create a pool of emergency fund for the family. They keep their money in a safe place. Many do not know how to grow their money and out of fear of failure or fear of losing that they decide not to step into unknown territory. The word “investment” seems to be too heavy and big for them to handle. They also won’t take the trouble to educate themselves to reduce those fears. And thus, resort to growing their wealth in the only way they learnt from their mothers and grandmothers, the slow and steady way. Today, everything around us costs more each year. Some with double-digit inflation rate whilst the slow and steady return contributes only in single digit. Is their money really safe after all?

The message I’m trying to send out here is to jolt your minds into thinking deeper about your habit where money is concerned. Every lady I met would share her dream of becoming financially independent one day, regardless whether she is married or single, younger or older. You can achieve it if you decide to take the driver’s seat where your financials are concerned. No longer being a bystander. And, as this is a new territory for you, it is wise to engage a “navigator” to be with you all the way. The “navigator” must be someone qualified, who shall help you manage your risks and yet engage you to play an active role in all your financial decisions. You can further educate yourself by reading financial books and journals. It is alright to take baby steps towards achieving your financial independence. Act on it!

A successful woman will be one who knows very well what she wants in her life and reach for it. She knows how to live abundantly. She is emotionally and financially strong. Let us be counted as one of those women.

To be one, we must change our mindset about finances and start planning for our financial future. A journey starts from a single step. Take the first step now to building your personal wealth.

~ Alice N.

 


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