How is your relationship with money? It may seem like a strange question at first, but consider it and try to answer the question. We all relate to money in specific ways, usually based on the strategies we gleaned from our parents when we were growing up. Sometimes we relate to money based on how the folks around us relate to their money. Or sometimes we’re just running a script that we’ve outgrown and don’t even realize it. Women and money.
I want to share with you an article for which I was recently interviewed. The article itself is about women and money, and women and real estate investing, but I think it supports the idea that women don’t have the luxury of choosing NOT to earn and invest for our futures. Very often, when we do so, we are doing it for ourselves and our children. You can find the original article by clicking here:
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“Do you want to know the biggest crock of bull I ever bought? Prince Charming.
I grew up on fairy tales. As a tot, my mother read to me and I darn near memorized every word to every Dr. Seuss or Disney book available on the market between 1975 and 1985. By middle school, I was watching soap operas and by high school, I was reading romance novels. The scenery and writers changed, but the story lines remained the same: Girl somehow finds herself in dire straits, random stranger-guy rescues girl from trouble. They live happily ever after.
I love a good romantic comedy as much as the next gal. I am a firm believer in Prince Charming. When my prince finally shows up on my doorstep, so to speak, he will find me with my financial house in order – investment plans already maxed out, college savings plans in place and a portfolio of real estate investments that will provide me and my heirs a lifetime of passive income. I’m not waiting on him to show up before I make those important financial decisions. I can’t.” -SJ Stone, GIC Deal Finder member
The Dangerous Mythos of Prince Charming
Believe it or not, most women don’t actually have the luxury of waiting on Prince Charming before they develop a strong, positive relationship with money. Unfortunately, many women don’t seem to actually be aware of the risk they take by waiting on a man to show up before they take control of their financial futures. When they do marry, many women busy themselves with managing the household budget and controlling their debt to income ratio. But they leave the investment portfolio in their husbands’ capable hands. This is true even when both partners work. And that’s great… as long as you two always stay together and die at the same time.
Here’s the ugly truth about happily ever after:
- In the U.S., 1 in 2 first marriages end in divorce. In the U.K., the number is about 2 in 5.
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most men and women remarry within 5 years, but more than 60% of second marriages in the U.S. end in shambles.
- When you do find marriages that stand the test of time, you can expect about 56% of wives to outlive their husbands, often by a decade or more. Who will manage the investment portfolio when he’s gone?
Investment disparities between men and women boil down to one thing: Confidence
When you look at it in terms of numbers, there really is no time to delay. While 44% of all women (married and single) are the primary breadwinners in their households, most women feel woefully under-prepared to make financial decisions that directly impact their futures. According to a study by Prudential Research entitled Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women, only about only 20% of women feel well prepared to make smart financial decisions, and 36% of those women say they don’t even really know where to begin as it relates to financial planning. Why not? Why is there such dissonance between women and money? Confidence.
Confidence is, by far, the greatest obstacle women face when it comes to financial planning and investment.
Nearly half of the men surveyed say they are confident they can make smart financial decisions. This may also explain why only 1 in 4 financial planners are actually women. So, it’s not just you. For many women, real estate investing is an area in which they are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
How to Break from Outdated Traditions
The good news about this problem is it’s an illusion. Confidence is all in the mind. So if your primary problem with being a woman who invests in real estate is that you don’t have the confidence to do it or you’re harboring a little fear, you have a problem that is within your control. The boundary is one you’ve built up in our own minds, that means we have the freedom to take it down. Then there will be no obstacle at all. In reality, there is no real obstacle. So, make the decision to increase your financial literacy, find the right training program to help you become a successful investor and start investing, whether you’re scared and unsure or not.
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Sometimes the best-laid plans come to naught. And it sucks to be caught in a situation where you’re spent from toiling and still living in lack. Time waits for no woman. And the truth is, we really don’t know what’s around the next corner – a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel or study abroad, company layoffs, divorce, illness… anything can happen.
Do you hear me? Anything can happen.
We can’t always prevent or even be ready for life’s challenges, but we can work now to minimize the negative impact an unexpected event may have on our households by being smart. Use every tool in your arsenal. Don’t let anything in you rust out; and work like you know tomorrow’s coming, because it is.
And most importantly, do it now, lady. Don’t wait.