Everything Millennial Women Need To Know About Their Finances
By Germeen G.
Finance Is Not a Man’s Game
Too often we as women are groomed to be mothers, nurturers, and the supportive backbones to our mates. On the contrary, men are groomed to make deals, be money makers, and businessmen. These stereotypes are slowly being broken and there is a rise in the percentage of women who are the breadwinners in their homes. However, let’s not be fooled. There are a lot of industries that are still male-dominated and there’s also the very present wage gap. Due to these circumstances, we have to be more aware and apart of the game.
The first way to do this is to stop thinking that finance is a game only played by men. You too should know how to balance a checkbook, build your own savings, pay your own bills, keep up with your debt etc. If you don’t know how that’s okay too but let’s not pretend to be weak willed or a damsel in distress. You want a seat at the table? Bring your own chair! We have to learn to be our own plugs. The year has just started. Commit to making this the year you become more financially literate. Looking for a starting point? One of my favorite personal finance books is Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich by Lois P. Frankel
Negotiate Your Salary
It’s no secret that women don’t feel as confident with negotiating their salary. The difference is we tend to feel appreciative of securing an offer. Men, however, usually have a sense of entitlement and negotiate for what they believe they’re owed. I’m not saying we have to be arrogant about it but let’s be honest, if you are great at what you do, you should be compensated for it.
Make this the year that you stop accepting what’s given and start advocating for what you deserve. Get a sheet of paper or use an excel spreadsheet and begin to keep track of your accomplishments throughout the year. Did someone highlight your work on a project? Did you save the company time or money? Did you receive an award? These are all things that you can highlight when discussing why you deserve more money. Trust and believe that you are your biggest investment and advocate. It’s the company’s job to keep costs low but that’s not your problem. Most employers often expect that you will negotiate. Give them what they want!
“It’s never overreacting to ask for what you want and need."
- Amy Poehler
Talk Finances with Your Mate
From social media, the news, our friends, etc. I’m sure you’ve been told that money is the leading cause of stress in relationships. This is due partly to couples not discussing their finances. Even if you have to spice it up and create money date nights, do what you have to in order to ensure that you understand where you stand financially as a couple/family. Some common things to discuss are debt, salary, and monthly responsibilities. You should also be clear on who will pay what. Disclaimer: just because you aren’t responsible for it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what’s going on with that area. I’m a bit of a control freak so I run a tight ship when it comes to bill pay and having my finances in order. This has spilled over to my relationship in a healthy way because we have open discussions about these things. Do yourself a favor and be involved financially. Don’t succumb to the gender roles that have been placed on us. No one person (i.e. the man) has to be responsible for the finances. Make it a joint effort.
Spend Less Than You Earn
The key to staying ahead in your finances is to spend less than you earn. I have been a victim of the lifestyle upgrade and I can say that although there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself, be sure not to upgrade your life so much that you move from living comfortably to having to play catch up. These days unless you work for yourself, you’re never really guaranteed a job. This is why it’s important to be your own plug and have a cushion or emergency fund. I would even go a step further and say that it’s important to build another stream of income, one that you have more control over.
“The average millionaire has seven sources of income.”
It may not be your goal to create seven streams but I’ve never met a person who would turn down good money (emphasis on good). Keeping your monthly expenses to a minimum and your lifestyle manageable is the best way to stay ahead of your finances. By doing so, you leave funds for my next point; splurging (wisely of course)!
Your vice may be traveling, spa visits, handbags, fly shoes, or the finest leather. Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure it isn’t free. I am a huge advocate of being wise with your money so you can spend it on things that you truly love and bring you joy. We (women) aren’t as uninformed as people may think when it comes to money; I’m giving us more credit. I will say, however, while you’re budgeting your money and tracking your spending, leave room for that vice. Save and plan for it so that when you indulge, you can savor the feeling of knowing that you worked hard for that moment.
Ladies, you are strong, fierce, and intelligent. We are becoming the movers and shakers of the world and we need to know what to do with ALL (yes, all because we’re speaking it into existence) this money we’re going to be making!
Germeen is business professional with over 6 years of experience in the accounting field. A graduate of Penn State University, she earned her B.S. in Accounting with a minor in the legal environment of business. A few years later, she obtained her M.S. in Forensic Accounting. She is 9-5er, small business owner, and hustler.