Rising inflation, a volatile job market and an impending recession have caused undue stress for many people. Add reproductive rights and child care costs to the mix and it’s no wonder successful women feel more financially strained than their male counterparts.
Like everyone else, women have monthly bills and budgeting to consider. For some, investing in long-term goals — such as home ownership or retirement — seems entirely unattainable.
If left unaddressed, financial stress can hinder one’s mental health, relationships and professional growth. Fortunately, women have the power to take control of their assets and reduce their anxiety once and for all. Here are eight tips for managing money effectively as a successful woman.
Determine Financial Stress
Women often experience the most financial stress from bills, budgeting, lower wages and investments. In fact, the 2022 Money and Mental Health report by Bankrate and Psych Central found that 46% of American women said money woes negatively impacted their mental health, compared to 38% of men.
When overcoming financial anxiety, it’s crucial to determine one’s triggers. Maybe it’s worrying about paying for groceries or filing annual taxes. The IRS claimed it was owed $114 billion in back taxes in 2020 — a sign more people endure financial hardships. Regardless, knowing what causes anxiety about money in the first place is the initial step in addressing the issue.
Review Spending and Savings
Each day is an opportunity to spend less and save more. When women review their finances regularly — from bank balances to investments to transactions — they can more clearly understand where their money is going and where they can tweak their spending habits.
The Federal Reserve has found that 36% of people wouldn’t cover a $400 emergency expense with cash if it arose. Creating a budgeting spreadsheet in Excel is an excellent way to reserve money for unexpected situations and efficiently allocate funds where necessary.
Speak to a Financial Advisor
A trustworthy financial advisor will become every successful woman’s new best friend. When there’s high anxiety surrounding finances, an advisor listens to concerns and develops a financial plan with measurable goals, risk reduction and the most crucial investment and insurance options.
However, it’s essential to be honest with a planner to understand the full scope of one’s financial anxiety — including the messier details most would rather refrain from sharing.
It’s difficult for women to think about the future when they’re trying to cover expenses now. However, diversifying their portfolio investments can better make their money work for them.
Women might consider several types of investments — stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, pension funds and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are but a few possibilities.
A diversified portfolio ensures a better balance in savings when one part of the financial sector goes awry, leading to more significant financial security long-term.
Credit card fraud and cybercrime are more rampant than ever, posing increased risks to individual accounts. Successful women should practice due diligence and secure their funds, becoming more mindful of potential money scams.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported 2,789,161 fraudulent cases in 2021 — 88,354 were from credit cards, 68,937 were from debit cards and 58,026 occurred during wire transfers. Reducing online spending and setting up multi-factor authentication are helpful ways to avoid becoming a victim.
Set Long-Term Financial Goals
Having something to work toward can help women overcome financial anxiety. What do they hope to achieve — homeownership, starting a family or paying off student loans? Visualizing the future can help women develop the steps they must take to reach their financial goals.
Even small changes in spending patterns make a difference. They should consider switching from subscription services they rarely use or moving to a cheaper phone plan. Eating meals at home more often and budgeting for the most essential expenses first — bills, groceries, rent and utilities — will also help them reach their goals.
Ask for a Raise
Despite the Equal Pay Act being signed into law in 1970, women earn only 83.7% of what men make annually while working full-time. The gender pay gap is even more disproportionate for women of color.
If someone has been taking on new responsibilities, was underpaid to begin with or hasn’t had a raise in two or more years, it’s time to talk to the boss. Although asking for a raise isn’t the most comfortable situation, women deserve to be paid fairly for their time and contributions. Even if they don’t get one immediately, their supervisor could keep their salary in mind for the next round of promotions.
Freelance on the Side
Gig work is a hot trend and successful women are flexing their entrepreneurial skills for some extra side cash. Women made up 52.3% of freelance workers in the U.S. in 2022 — compared to 47.7% of freelancers being men.
According to freelance work marketplace Upwork, 44% of freelancers earn more than the salaries from their regular jobs in 2021 — a 5% increase from 2020. There was also a 50% increase in skilled freelance work from 2020 to 2021, including computer programming, marketing or consulting.
However, side cash could also come from selling craft goods and services online. A skilled writer or graphic designer could create and sell resume templates or offer resume writing services to job seekers. Meanwhile, women can also sell prints at local markets if photography is a passion.
Successful Women Can Achieve Financial Freedom
Financial freedom is more than attaining complete control over money — it’s relieving oneself of economic anxiety surrounding mounting expenses. When successful women learn to manage their assets correctly, a weight is lifted from their shoulders, and they can live more comfortably.