After working in the financial planning profession for 15 years and working with many women and couples on their financial journeys, I’ve learned that women typically have different needs and challenges when it comes to money. As a woman businessowner myself, I oftentimes put my own financial life last, despite my better judgment. It is always good to remind ourselves to improve our financial lives and build wealth.
Working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can assist with financial planning tips specific to your situation. Here are seven strategies to help young women set financial planning goals and invest wisely for the future:
- Have Clear Financial Goals
Whether it’s building a cash cushion of a few months’ worth of expenses, saving for a home down payment, paying off debt, or investing for retirement, identifying your goals will make them easier to achieve.
- Review your Budget and Cash Flow
Maintaining a budget is crucial to a healthy financial life. A budget shows us where our money is coming from and where it is going. Review your budget from an unbiased, objective standpoint, and see what the numbers tell you. Are there ways to help you save or invest toward your goals? Are there expenses you can eliminate or reduce? Be strategic about how you want to use your money and find ways to improve your budget and cash flow.
- Set Up Automatic Savings
Begin to leverage the “pay yourself first” strategy and think of your savings like bills that you must pay before you spend any money. If you have a sufficient emergency fund in your savings account, you can look at saving in investment accounts. The advantage of using an investment account (401(k), IRA, brokerage account, etc.) is that you are implementing dollar cost averaging and consistently investing in your portfolio. This helps you take the emotion out of investing, stay on the savings track and reap the potential returns of long-term investing.
- Get Help
Everybody can use help when managing their finances. Whether it’s taking online courses about money management, reading personal finance books, or hiring a financial planner. It is up to you to find the resources and experts you need to guide you on your financial journey. Even if you’re just starting out, it is worth having professional help. There are more than 92,000 CFP® professionals around the U.S. you can work with.
- Have Consistent Money Dates
You want to have a loving relationship with your money. Find a day and time every week and commit to weekly money dates. During your money date, review your budget, spending, goals, and accounts. If you’re coupled up, you can take this time to talk about your finances together — review goals, address any challenges or concerns, and really become partners in the financial journey.
- Start Investing
Whether you put money into real estate, the stock market, or your own business, growing your money faster than inflation is the key to successful investing. Because women tend to live longer than men, leave the workforce to take care of their families, and still earn less than men, investing is crucial. If you have a 401(k) at work, start by contributing to that account as much as you can. If you don’t have a 401(k), then consider an IRA. These retirement accounts provide tax advantages, so start with those when investing for your future.
- Keep Going
The journey is not easy, and it’s never a straight line. You will learn a lot along the way about yourself and about money. It’s important to remember that nobody is immune to money challenges. It just takes time, practice, and a commitment to improve your situation year after year. You can do it. You’re worthy of living an abundant financial life, so stay committed to becoming a financially wise woman.
You can find more insights and resources, and find a CFP® professional to work with, on LetsMakeAPlan.org.