Historically speaking, women have not been the main breadwinners of the family. Consequently, we didn’t have the responsibility to take care of the household finances. However, women have been holding full-time jobs for the past 50-60 years, without necessarily sharing the responsibility to manage the household finances.
In my coaching practice, I often work with women and I clearly notice a recurring belief, which is “someone else will take care of managing my money”.
For single women, this often translates into taking the ostrich approach of burying their head in the sand, managing their money as little as possible, until Prince Charming comes along and takes over the task of money management.
For married women, it usually means that they heavily rely on their spouse to manage and run the household finances, with minimal involvement on their behalf.
In both cases, this attitude can be dangerous:
When you are single, nothing guarantees that you will find a man who knows what he’s doing when it comes to money. Opposite to what most of us think, not all men know how money works. Some men are even overwhelmed by money matters. Surprise!
If you are married, it is also unsafe for you to assume that your spouse is better with money than you are.
Add to this the fact that in Canada, women live on average 6 years longer than men and that half of marriages end up in divorce. This means that women have a much higher chance of being widowed and will have to deal with the household finances on their own at some point in their life. And in the case of divorce, women suddenly become the breadwinners AND the family money managers.
Bottom line is: “It’s neither safe nor practical to assume that the man in your life can be counted on to take care of your finances” David Bach.
I prefer if women took the safer approach of teaching themselves how to financially stand on their own two feet at all times, regardless of their relationship status.
So how can you start learning about money management?
Firstly, believe that you can be good with money. You were not born knowing how to walk and you were not born knowing how to manage money. It is something that can be learned, just like any other skill. So I encourage you to take a proactive approach and learn about money when there is no immediate crisis to resolve. That is the best time to learn after all. Then start your self-education process.
A few good books that I recommend are:
– Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
– Prince Charming Isn’t Coming by Barbara Stanny
– Women & Money – Owning the power to control your destiny by Suze Orman
Part of your self-education, you can commit to reading personal finance websites, sign up to a few money newsletters, or take an online course.
My favorite FREE online course can be found on the FCAC website. It is a government-sponsored course that covers everything from basic banking notions to investments, taxes and retirement.
The reality is there is no shortage of resources to learn from. You simply have to commit to becoming “good with money” and believing that you are the one responsible for your own financial well-being at all times.