Why Financial Independence is So Empowering for Women (and How to Get There)

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Some couples share money. Some do not.

Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Chelsea Murhpy of cashfullstop.com

Mark Wahlberg has donated his re-shoot of All the Money in the World earnings (US$1.5 million) to the Time’s Up fund in Michelle Williams’ name. It’s a beautiful gesture that got me thinking. In this age of striving for pay equality, why was Michelle paid US$800 and Mark paid US$1.5 million? Michelle said she valued the reason for the re-shoot and so was comfortable with that quantity of payment. I completely agree that it’s fantastic that they re-shot parts of the movie to replace Kevin Spacey’s role. But I also wonder… how many times are we, as women, making decisions for the “greater good” and potentially undervaluing our time, expertise and contribution as individuals? Let’s face it, all these smaller decisions add up substantially over our lifetimes.

Here are our top tips for finding your way with money, as a woman.

1. Consider that things might change

You might be at the stage where you are fit, healthy and have full capacity to work. That’s a beautiful stage for building your career or business and generating a great income. But what’s around the corner? Could raising a family be on the cards one day? Might you have the responsibility to care for your parents or a family member in the future? Things change and unpredictable things come up, so don’t think of your current earning capacity as an indicator of the future. The smart thing to do is to create a financial buffer so you have extra funds in the event that your situation changes. It’s about consistently putting money aside for the future so you have options down the track, whatever that is.

2. Self-educate to make smarter money choices

Do whatever you can to work smarter. That could be upskilling so you work more effectively and get more done or produce a higher quality of work. It could be researching your position and role-playing a salary review or pricing conversation so you come across confident and focused rather that nervous AF. It might be taking a moment to consider your dream job or client and then making a plan, literally writing down a step-by-step plan, on how to secure it. It could be getting your financial house in order so you feel focused. Or building on your financial expertise so you feel confident when you are making financial decisions. Whatever it is, your future self will thank you because the beauty of the compound factor is that you will see the ripple effect of that positive step in a magnitude of ways.

3. Think outside that big ol’ box

You’ve got dreams and goals, but is there a better way to do it? Take some time to really think it out. Is there an option that is financially better for you? Things like extended travel and starting businesses can make financial hits to your cash flow as well as your long-term financial position. Is there a way you can do those things and still feel like you are moving in the direction you want? If you explore out-of-the-box solutions, you might come up with something that gives you the best of both worlds.

4. Keep investing in you

If financial security is important to you, then keep investing in your skills and work relationships. It’s the long-term play to make sure you enjoy what you do, get to work with great people, and are rewarded for your hard work. It helps you remain relevant and able to produce a good income, at any stage of life.

5. Ensure you’re comfortable with every financial decision

Some couples share money. Some do not. Different strokes for different folks. Over time, financial decisions come up – moving in together, purchasing furniture, cars or even property, travelling together, making investments, establishing and building businesses, it could even be something like having expensive hobbies. Commitments that may even take months or years (or lifetimes) to pay off. Couples who share money should make financial decisions together, as a team. Let’s just say that life is unpredictable and unexpected things happen. Make sure every, and we’re talking every, financial decision you make is something you are comfortable with. Also make sure it is a commitment you can afford to cover if circumstances change and you’re left with the repayments, solo. You need to trust in your decision-making ability, if you don’t think you know enough now, ask more questions and do more research so you feel informed before committing to anything. Take the time to make decisions so they are considered and in line with your knowledge and intuition.

Ironically, as mentioned, Michelle and Mark’s movie is called All the Money in the World. If this news story wasn’t waiting for a financial planning spin, then I don’t know what is. Being smart with your money ensures you don’t get stuck anywhere – in a city, job, business or relationship, that you don’t want. It also means you can gift your hard-earned dollars to well-deserving charities yourself.

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Want to learn more? Come to our Collective101 Love Your Money masterclass in Sydney on February 1. Tickets available here.

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