Whether you’re a married or single woman – earning $100 or $15 an hour – you need financial independence. Here are five signs you can take care of your money and your life.
“Women need to develop a healthy, honest relationship with our money,” says financial guru Suze Orman, author of Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny. “And we have to see this relationship as a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.”
In other words, our financial lives (mortgage payments, credit card debt, emergency savings fund, monthly budget, etc) are part of who we are as women. The serious debt or extreme wealth in our finances directly affects our emotional, physical, and spiritual lives.
And, here are several signs that you could support yourself financially if you need to…
5 Signs of Financial Independence
If you already know you’re not financially independent, read How to Become Financially Independent When You’re in a Controlling Relationship.
You’re aware of your “money personality”
Did your parents invest in real estate, a secure low-interest savings account, mutual funds – or did they struggle with debt? Your saving and spending habits, investment style, attitude about money, and financial perspective is shaped in part by the way your parents treated money in your childhood.
Your money personality directly affects your relationship with money – and the more self-aware you are, the more financial independence you’ll enjoy.
You take smart financial risks
A financial risk doesn’t necessarily mean investing $10,000 in a friend’s new business or applying for a loan to pay off your credit card debt (but it could – depending on your financial situation). A healthy financial risk includes investing in your career by going back to school full or part-time, taking a mortgage on a small piece of real estate, or exploring ways to earn money from your hobby.
You have your own checking, savings, or credit card accounts
So many women want to leave their common-law or married husbands, but can’t because they have no money to support themselves. Having a separate checking or savings account is the first, most basic sign of a financially independent woman…and yet many women don’t have their own source of money.
If you are financially dependent on your husband, read How to Get Money to Leave Your Husband. You don’t need to be thinking about leaving him – you just need to learn how to support yourself financially.
You have both individual and couple money goals
Our goal as a married couple is to pay off the mortgage within a few months. My goal as a businesswoman is to earn $2,500 per month from my blogs. My husband has his own financial goals, mostly related to investing money in stocks and bonds. For a woman to have true financial independence, she needs to have goals that are separate from her partner’s.
If you and your partner see money differently, you might find Dealing With Different Money Personalities as a Couple helpful.
You understand basic personal finance
This is where books about money for women are so important! I can’t describe retirement investing, compound and simple interest rates, living trusts, home insurance, income tax strategies, etc here – but a basic understanding of money is crucial for women. The more you know about basic personal finance, the more independent you’ll be.
One of my favorite books about money for women is Lois Frankel’s Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: 75 Avoidable Mistakes Women Make with Money (I like it better than Suze Orman’s Women and Money).
Orman has the final word about money, though:
“Remember to stay involved with your money, to nurture a healthy relationship with it, for what happens to your money affects the quality of your life and the lives of all those you love.”
If you feel “dumb” about money, read 6 Ways to Increase Your Financial IQ.
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If you’re married, could you support yourself financially if you had to? If you’re single, are you financially stable?