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10 Financial Commandments for Working Women


10 Financial Commandments for Working Women Everywhere
PHOTO: Sandra Semburg

Here’s an interesting fact: By the year 2028, 75% of the world’s discretionary spendings will be controlled by women, and 1/3 of all businesses globally will be owned and run by women. The world is full of brilliant working women who exude power and grace in ways that have transformed the world. With this positive realization in mind, now is the time for working women to take control of their financial future and realize their financial potentials.

What’s key here is that knowledge is power, and having financial prowess is crucial for a happy and successful life. But, we get it; you’re still coming into their own financial independence. To help guide you to financial freedom, we’re breaking down clear, achievable habits to adopt that will get you closer to financial success.

Commit to adopting these 10 financial habits for a successful 2018.

1. ESTABLISH A BUDGET

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You Are a Badass Jen Sincero ($16) ($8.99)

A budget is an itemized summary of likely income and expenses for a given period. Through the formulation of a budget, you will be able to keep track of how much money you allocate to certain components of your life, thereby having an element of control over your financial fate. By utilizing a budget regularly, you will grow accustomed to a particular routine in regards to your spending habits and will lessen your chances of overspending.

Want to conquer your future?

You’ll need a financial plan for that. Here’s a free one.

2. HAVE A RAINY DAY FUND

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Own It: The Power of Women at Work Sally Krawcheck ($27) ($9.50)

As much as we wish we could control every outcome of our lives, the human experience is rife with mystery and unpredictability. Nobody is immune from life’s surprises. That is why it is key that we set aside a percentage or set amount of our income to cover abrupt concerns that surface. According to Sallie Krawcheck, who is the Chair of a global professional women’s network known as Ellevate Network, “Your first savings milestone is to build an emergency fund. This should be at least three months of take-home pay, in case you get fired, or in case you have to take time away from work for, you know, an emergency. That money should be held in cash, for safety.” Isn’t it so much easier to be prepared for the rollercoaster ride called life?

3. SAVE FOR RETIREMENT

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Smart Women Love Money Alice Finn ($25.95) ($15.53)

According to a recent report by Bankrate.com, the number one financial regret of Americans is not saving for retirement sooner. Whether you can enroll in a 401(k) through your employer or choose an individual retirement account where money can be withdrawn penalty-free, getting a head start on saving for retirement is a worthwhile decision. Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, who is the senior vice-president at Charles Schwab, tells Ellevate Network that “Women often put the needs of others ahead of their own, but when it comes to retirement savings, you have to be a bit more selfish. At 40, if you’re just starting to save, you really should be socking away a minimum of 25 percent of your annual salary.” Let’s be prepared for our futures. Am I right?

4. BUILD YOUR CREDIT HISTORY

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Work Your Wealth Mary Beth Storjohann ($)

In short, your credit history is a record of your responsible repayment of debts. In order to become an established borrower with banks and credit card companies, you need to get credit cards and loans and thereby build a solid credit history. Be sure to become an account owner rather than an additional cardholder, as credit history is recorded for each individual debt holder. As dynamic, savvy working women with plans of purchasing real estate or making large purchases, we need to have proof that we are responsible borrowers.

5. PAY OFF DEBT

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Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms Amanda Steinberg ($26) ($11)

New data released from the Federal Reserve indicates that Americans’ cumulative debt credit card debt has surpassed $1 trillion (yes, really!). If you plan to escape debt, most financial advisers will tell you to pay off high-interest debt first and foremost, but new research from the Harvard Business Review has something else to share with us. According to their research conclusions, “consumers who focused on repaying one of the several accounts, as opposed to chipping away at multiple accounts at once, paid off more of their debt over 36 months than their counterparts who took the opposite route.” In other words, as Business Insider summarizes, “the researchers concluded that the factor that made the biggest impact on how hard participants worked wasn’t the amount they were paying back or how much was left in the account afterward, it was the percentage of the balance they ended up getting rid of.” Paying off your debt doesn’t have to follow a rigid formula. Simply focus on what method of repayment motivates you to get the job done in a reasonable time frame. Debt isn’t chic, ladies.

Want to conquer your future?

You’ll need a financial plan for that. Here’s a free one.

6. GET INSURANCE

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The Universe Has Your Back Gabrielle Bernstein ($24.99) ($14.83)

Purchasing insurance is a key financial commandment for working women because it protects us from a lot of unintentional circumstances that are out of our control. From health insurance to car insurance to life insurance, there are many different forms to take into account if we plan to be prepared for anything that hits us. Although it isn’t a tangible, definitive product per say, insurance is a safe, responsible investment to make. Through becoming insured, we are transferring financial risks from ourselves to the insurance companies. Unless you can afford the worst case scenario in particular categories of your life without a sweat, insurance is the way to go.

Want to conquer your future?

You’ll need a financial plan for that. Here’s a free one.

7. CREATE A FINANCIAL PLAN

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Salle Krawcheck Own It: The Power of Women at Work ($27) ($11.36)

What are your financial goals for both the present and the future? Building a sound financial plan will help you to review your income, expenses, investments, insurance coverage, retirement planning, income tax liability, and more. Then, with that information, it will provide you with a course of action. Although financial planning is not as fun as planning for our next vacation, it will give us the opportunity to gauge our financial health and act accordingly. Our life’s trajectory may not be in our full control, but it is very empowering to be an active participant in the path of our hard-earned income. The default may be to hand over the responsibilities to our male counterparts, but as forward-thinking working women, this isn’t likely. To put this intention into action, it may be a good idea to consult with a Certified Financial Planner.

8. PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT

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Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear ($)

If your identity is stolen, there is a chance that your personal information will be utilized in order to obtain credit, acquire debt, and use services. As a result, your financial health may be negatively impacted. Protecting your solid credit scores is interconnected with your financial well being and without a good credit score, you risk adverse consequences. There are identity protection services that we can look into to save ourselves from a headache associated with identity theft.

Want to conquer your future?

You’ll need a financial plan for that. Here’s a free one.

9. INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE

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Lean In Sheryl Sandberg ($24.95) ($6.59)

Are you ready to see your money grow? If so, consider investing. There are many investment vehicles out there, including stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate, ETFs, and other alternatives. But, we get it–investing can be an intimidating, overwhelming, and just scary. The good news is earlier this month, Ellevest, an online investing platform for women, launched “The Go-Getter’s Guide To Investing,” a guide that breaks down investing for a female audience. The free guide aims breaks investing down into five basic rules, from how to budget your income to how to choose a financial advisor. So, what are you waiting for? Get started!

10. BE WISE, BUT LET  GO

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#GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso ($16) ($6.50)

As much as being financially savvy is a positive for our present and future, it can be easy to let stress take over. In fact, according to Ellevate Network, “In a recent survey of 1,000 women across the country, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) also admit that money worries keep them up at night.” Money isn’t everything and there is only so much that we can do to secure a successful financial future for ourselves. Once we know that we have done our best to liberate ourselves from financial woes, it is best to let go and savor life’s simple things. Life is a beautiful gift!