Being that it’s Women’s History Month, a lot of people are publicly acknowledging brave, unique, successful, and inspirational women and raising awareness about women’s history in general.
It’s important to realize that this special month is about more than just acknowledging inspirational famous women. It’s about looking up to the remarkable women in our own lives and doing what we can to support other women and help them succeed whether we’re being directly recognized for our actions or not. This helps create and inspire notable historic movements and events that future generations can look back on.
One area that women tend to need a lot of support and guidance in, is their finances.
Women’s Financial History in a Nutshell
Women have always been at a financial disadvantage throughout history when compared to men. Many cultures – including American culture at one time and point -promoted the idea that women should not focus on education and should shift their priorities to getting married, bearing children, and taking care of the household which greatly hindered the financial security that most women felt.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual earnings of women aged 15 and older who worked full-time year-round was around $39,157 compared to mean who earned an average of $50,033.
The gender-wage gap is still very widespread throughout the U.S. setting a man up to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more throughout the course of his career than a woman who does the exact same work.
I found other statistical examples of women’s long-term issues with money after reading U.S. Census data from Wider Opportunities for Women. Their research finds that:
- 45% of women work part-time and are less likely to have workplace retirement benefits
- Three out of five women over the age of 65 can’t afford to cover their basic needs
- 42% of all women lack financial security
- Only 18% of families headed by single mothers have financial security
- Marriage often eases the financial burden, but women often outlive men. In fact, 44% of women over the age of 64 live with a male partner
According to a Prudential Research Study, 86% of women do not know how to invest or choose a financial product. Oh and here’s the big one…
When it comes to financial confidence, women lag behind men with 19% feeling confident vs. 34% of men
Those are pretty low percentages for both men and women in general, but women should definitely be feeling more financial confidence. There is hardly any reason not to feel that way when you look at all the successful and hardworking business women, entrepreneurs, and creatives who have prevailed despite their situation and any disadvantages.
Helping other women feel financially confident doesn’t have to be a job for a finance expert or a certified financial planner. If you have personal finance lessons or practical advice to share with a woman in your life as a way to boost her confidence in her finances, you should certainly do so.
Here are just a few ways to take this small, but impactful approach.
Mentor a Friend, Loved One, or Stranger
How many times do you look back and your past and realize you could have saved yourself so much time and money by doing things differently? While I’m grateful for my student loans because they’ve helped me learn so much about debt and finance in general, sometimes I think about how much further I could have been financially if I wouldn’t have taken out loans and used alternative ways to fund my college education instead.
Find a younger friend, relative, or a neighbor who you don’t know that well and see if you can mentor her or offer some advice to help her avoid the financial mistakes you once made. Mentorship can be mutually beneficial even if it involves just checking in every month with a phone call or email.
Share a Helpful Finance Article or Resource
If you find a really good restaurant or new place to shop, you probably feel the need to run and tell a friend. For some reason, we seem more than willing to share funny memes, videos, and lighthearted articles and advice with friends, but we shy away from the hardcore facts, philosophies, and lesson-based content that could really help someone in need.
The next time you are checking out a good personal finance blog or article or find out about a resource that can help a girlfriend who may be going through a rough time financially, be sure to share it with her. You can never guess how much that small action could help improve someone’s financial confidence and habits or even help them become an avid reader of financial literature.
Invite a Group of Women to Chat about Money
Money is such a guarded topic in society. It’s actually quite a shame because the more we talk openly about money, the more we can learn from each other, adopt new habits, and improve our financial confidence.
This is exactly the reason why three of my friends and I recently started a podcast called Financial Conversation. We’ve only recorded and released about a dozen episodes so far, but it’s really been fun and enlightening to get together each week and talk about our relationship and experience with money in certain situations, share helpful tips, and learn from each other’s stories.
If you feel the need to open up the conversation about money with a group of women in your neighborhood, survey some friends and find out what their financial goals are or areas that might be struggling in.
Have your friends invite other women to a mutual location like a conference room at your local library and set up a round table discussion to openly talk about money, its’ role in your lives, and how to manage it better.
If you want to have a more laid back chat about money with likeminded other women, you can even host a fun lunch at your house, serve cocktails, play money-themed games like the Cash Flow Game, and share your thoughts and ideas about various different personal finance topics.
Becoming more financially confident and helping other women feel the same is not something that will be done overnight. But when everyone pitches in and makes and effort backed by small and steady changes, that’s when statistics start to change and a new history becomes written.
Can you think of a woman or group of women in your life that you can help feel more financially confident? Do you have any ideas about how you would take action?
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