There are many misconceptions about women and money. We have myths saying: women are terrible at managing money; women are just spenders; women know nothing about finances! Being a woman myself, and being with a background in finance, I understand why these myths are around, but myths are myths which means none of this is true. Coming from a South Asian background where women are financially dependent on men, we are never taught financial literacy. The majority of South Asian women are rarely given the responsibility of managing the finances at home, but that's because of cultural barriers. However, just because you are not given the tools to be financially educated, it shouldn't translate as being incapable of handling money. On the contrary, times are changing and we have millions and millions of women running businesses and becoming millionaires, and today I want to share five practical tips that you can use to be financially free.
Create multiple income streams- As obvious as it may sound, diversify all your sources of income. Do not rely on only one source of income such as your work income. Take the example of COVID. If you were working in the hospitality sector, you would have probably been laid off at the beginning of 2020 and left with nothing. If you want to build a stable and secure financial future, start having a side hustle: provide tutoring lessons, sell a course, be a model, or write a book. Do anything as long as you have a cushion in times of disaster.
Get rid of debt- No one likes debt. Whether it is a student loan, car loan, or any financial obligation, get rid of it. Debts just lower our net worth and we don't want to carry them for the rest of our life. If you are like me carrying a student loan, try to implement a plan to pay off your student loan as fast as you can.
Invest for your retirement -Financial freedom also means investing in your retirement account. If you want to live comfortably and stress-free, you need to start investing for your retirement NOW. Money gets compounded over time and this will help you to build a lot of wealth until you retire. An easy way to build wealth for retirement is to get into a company pension plan where your employer matches the pension contribution for as long as you work for them. So take advantage of this because it is free money that the company will ever give you!
Create an emergency account- Always create an emergency account to meet any expected situations. For instance, whether it is health care costs, buying a last-minute ticket, or even dealing with home maintenance costs, always have a cash cushion where you can depend on in case of an emergency. If you always keep an emergency fund, you can avoid taking an unwanted debt or using a personal line of credit if you have one.
Invest in the stock market - Last but not least, invest in the market. The stock market is not a gambling place like many think, but instead, it is the only place where you make your money grow. When you invest and not trade, you will see your money multiplying over time ( again because of the power of compounding). Investing in the market allows you to receive dividends, interest and etc. This gives you the chance to grow your net worth and build wealth. If it is your first time investing, always get the help of a financial advisor to set up your brokerage account and help you with the journey of investing.
"Teach her about how money really works, and she can change the world."
- Linda Davis Taylor