How to Take Control of Your Finances
By Megan Dalla-Camina, Women Rising Founder & CEO
Financial empowerment is a fundamental aspect of personal growth and wellbeing, yet it’s often a topic that people don’t feel comfortable talking about. There are so many stories we can have about money and a lot of deeply ingrained beliefs that can bring up powerful emotional responses. No matter what you believe about money, taking control of your finances and planning for the future can provide a sense of security, freedom, and peace of mind. It's never too late to start building a solid foundation for a brighter financial future.
HERE ARE 6 PRACTICAL STRATEGIES AND TIPS TO HELP YOU GAIN CONTROL OVER YOUR FINANCES, MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS, AND SET YOURSELF UP FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS:
1. Assess Your Current Financial Situation:
The first step towards financial empowerment is to assess your current financial situation. Take stock of your income, expenses, debts, and assets. Create a budget that outlines your monthly income and expenses. This will help you gain a clear understanding of your financial standing and identify areas where you can make adjustments. Review your debt and create a plan to pay it off strategically. By understanding your financial landscape, you can make informed decisions and take appropriate steps towards financial empowerment.
2. Get Clear On Your Life Vision:
One of the best things you can do when it comes to your finances, is to get super clear on the vision you have for your life. When you know what it is that you want for your life and what truly matters to you, then you can then make decisions that feel meaningful and aligned with your personal goals. If you haven’t already, we recommend you read our article A 4-step process to create your life vision. Use this life vision to form the basis of the financial goals you set for yourself.
3. Set Financial Goals:
Setting clear financial goals is essential to stay focused and motivated. Identify short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Short-term goals may include building an emergency fund or paying off a specific debt. Medium-term goals could involve saving for a deposit on a house or funding your child's education. Long-term goals might include retirement planning or starting a business. Be specific with your goals, assign time frames, and set measurable targets. Make sure you review your financial goals regularly and reflect on your progress. Celebrate your achievements and identify areas where you can improve. Regularly reassessing and staying connected to your goals will keep you motivated and focused on long-term financial success.
4. Reduce Debt and Build an Emergency Fund:
Debt can be a major obstacle to financial empowerment. Develop a plan to pay off high-interest debts systematically. Simultaneously, work towards building an emergency fund. Having a reserve of three to six months' worth of living expenses can provide a safety net during unexpected circumstances, as well as a sense of security and peace of mind. By reducing debt and building an emergency fund, you are better equipped to handle financial setbacks and take proactive steps towards achieving your goals.
5. Invest in Your Financial Education:
Continuing to educate yourself about personal finance is crucial for long-term financial empowerment. Read books, attend workshops, listen to podcasts or enrol in online courses that focus on financial literacy. These days there are so many great, free resources for women to support their financial education. Some helpful money podcasts for women to listen to are: She’s On The Money, She Makes Money Moves, and You’re In Good Company. Understand the basics of investing, retirement planning, and wealth management. Explore different investment options and seek advice from trusted financial professionals if needed. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to make informed decisions about your finances. Investing in your financial education will empower you to take control of your financial future and make choices that align with your goals.
6. Protect Yourself and Plan for the Future:
Ensure you have the necessary insurance coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. Consider life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and property insurance, depending on your circumstances. Additionally, plan for retirement by ensuring your superannuation (or equivalent retirement fund for those outside Australia) is consolidated in one account with low fees. Take advantage of employer-matched contributions whenever possible. Regularly review and update your estate planning documents, including wills and trusts. By protecting yourself and planning for the future, you can safeguard your financial wellbeing and provide peace of mind for you and your family.
TIPS FOR LEADERS: SUPPORTING WOMEN’S FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT
- Promote Equal Pay and Opportunities: Ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work and have the same opportunities for career advancement as their male counterparts. Conduct regular pay equity assessments and address any disparities.
- Provide Financial Education and Training: Offer workshops, seminars, and resources focused on financial literacy and management. These initiatives can cover topics such as budgeting, investing, saving, and retirement planning. By empowering women with financial knowledge, you enable them to make informed decisions and take control of their financial futures.
- Support Women Entrepreneurs: Create programs that specifically target women entrepreneurs, providing them with access to funding, mentorship, and business development resources. Encourage women to start and grow businesses by fostering an environment that values and supports their entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Mentor Women on Financial Confidence: We know from our recent research that 73% of the 1200 women we surveyed said they need good pay to thrive at work, 41% wish they earned more money and 39% are reluctant to ask for a payrise. Mentor women on how to know their worth, negotiate well and confidently ask for a payrise.
- Offer Parental Leave and Childcare Support: Provide comprehensive parental leave policies that are inclusive of all parents, regardless of gender. Additionally, support affordable and high-quality childcare options, which can help women maintain their careers while balancing their caregiving responsibilities.
If you want more practical tools and strategies to help you make decisions that align with your values and goals, we’d love you to join our free monthly coaching sessions. Our October call is all about learning how to say ‘no’. In this session, Megan will cover:
- Getting clear on your values and discerning what to say ‘no’ to.
- A 3-step process for maintaining effective boundaries.
- How to identify where you need to set a boundary and why it’s essential for your wellbeing.
- Understanding the stories that keep you saying ‘yes’ and taking on more work than you should.
This will be an empowering and practical session that helps you discern what to say “no” to and gives you the tools to effectively do that. Register your place here.