When it comes down to the science of handling money, many women will say that they do not feel confident in their abilities. A 2015 study on global financial literacy found that just 30 percent of women are financially literate compared to 35 percent of men. Indeed, a few years later in 2017 a survey reported that just 43% of women said they felt confident in their investments, compared to 56% of men.
With that in mind we've identified some key financial considerations for women when it comes to considering their finances.
1. Other people aren’t a financial plan
Despite generations of tradition and cultural norms telling women otherwise; reliance on another human being for financial security is an unsafe situation in which to put yourself. Not only because nothing is certain, but also because you lose your independence and security and are utterly beholden to this other human and their continued financial success.
Entering into a relationship where resources are pooled and burdens halved is one thing, total reliance on someone else's income is quite another. It is always best to maintain control over your own finances so that you are free to make any decisions that you see fit for your own life. Don’t be in a hurry to relinquish this freedom.
2.It’s okay to ask for a raise
It’s well-documented that women are less likely to ask for a raise than their male counterparts. Among other reasons, this is due to the fact that it is seen as ‘aggressive’ behaviour in a female employee. This means that when a woman does ask for a raise it is more likely that it will be viewed negatively by their employer and that they will will suffer negative repercussions.
However, it is crucial that you do so for two major reasons. Firstly, by asking for a bonus or increase in salary you are consciously assessing yourself and your worth within the workforce. This stops you forgetting about your own professional value, and allowing yourself to be taken for granted.
Secondly, it reminds your boss of your value to their workforce, and by demanding that you be paid what you are worth you are conveying a message that you expect to be respected and duly compensated for your skill set. And, with the mean gender pay gap in the UK in 2018 being 14.1%, there is still a way to go before we reach natural salary equality.
3.Plan for pregnancy
Pregnancy is a lengthy and life changing process, on both a professional and personal level; which is why you should know your rights and have a financial plan in place to cover any extra leave or activities you require when pregnant.
In the EU, the Member States have to follow the Pregnant Workers Directive (passed in 1992), as a minimum. This means that all women are entitled to a minimum of 14 weeks maternity leave, with two weeks compulsory leave before birth.
Depending on which country you live in, or company you work for, your maternity leave and agreed maternity salary will vary in accordance with individual internal regulations. Read up on them and make sure you know exactly what you are entitled to.
If you wish to be at home with your child for an extended period of time after they are born you also need to make sure you have put money away and have savings you can live off to supplement your usual income.
4.Learn how to budget
A recent study indicates that women's relationship with money is more than just financial. For many women, spending money can be related to an emotional trigger that sets off a complex emotional and mental response. In these cases, money is more than just money.
By learning to budget successfully you are taking control of your finances and making conscious decisions on what to save and what to spend. By forcing yourself to be constantly aware of what you’re spending (and why) you are making positive steps in your own financial education. A successful budget is a way out of harmful debt and spending cycles, and reduces stress around a subject which is proven to cause significant anxiety.
5.Take control now
There’s no time like the present.
If we are living in a world where men are more financially literate than women, and where they are still facing a very real gender pay gap in almost every industry, then there is no time to lose in taking control of your finances and making a difference in your own life.