By Samantha Compton
April is Financial Literacy Month and was first recognized in the U.S. in April 2004. It was designed to bring greater awareness to the need for more education in finances and how to manage them to help people improve their lives.
Often, we hear the importance of a focus on financial literacy for women. Historically, there has been quite a difference between men and women and how they feel about their competency with money.
Did you know that if a married couple lives to age 65, there is an almost 70% likelihood that the wife will outlive her husband? It’s no wonder that there is a need for increased access to information about wisely handling financial matters, especially for women.
We could spend endless amounts of time digging into “why” women often don’t feel as confident or prepared to handle all their financial matters. But instead, I’d rather focus on how we change things for the future. I believe the most significant barrier for many women is that they don’t believe they can learn the things they need to know in finances. And nothing could be further from the truth! So, let’s do this! I’ve created a list of ways to increase your financial literacy and confidence as a woman.
Here are ten ideas to increase your financial literacy and confidence as a woman in 2022.
1. Choose to believe you can learn new things! Your money mindset is the most important thing to address if you want to grow in your knowledge and confidence in finances! If you currently don’t feel confident in managing your finances, this will be an essential first step! You can choose to believe this even when you don’t feel it.
2. Understand that no matter what age you are, it’s never too early, and it’s never too late to grow in this area! I’ve heard from women that they might feel “too old” to learn new things about financial matters. I didn’t learn what a mutual fund was until the age of 40. You can begin learning at ANY age!
3. Make a list of all your financial accounts and how much is in them. This would include bank checking and savings accounts, employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts (past and present), insurance products, other investment accounts, etc. If you don’t know what you have, you’ll struggle ever to feel like you have a good handle on your financial life! This exercise may take only a few moments, or it may take more effort to research. Either way, it’s worth taking the time to do.
4. Make a list of what you’d like to learn more about regarding your finances. It can seem like there is SO much to learn that it can begin to feel overwhelming. But you don’t need to know everything! (Nobody knows everything!). After making your list, choose something each month to focus on.
5. Create a basic budget. There are many forms available online to help with this process. The beginning of building your financial confidence usually starts within your financial reality. It’s important to grasp how much money is coming in and where it is going out.
6. Read books! There are many resources available to assist you in becoming more financially savvy. You might try to read a certain number of books each year on various financial topics. Focus on one subject at a time in your learning journey.
7. Bring some friends along. Invite some friends to join you on your financial knowledge journey. It’s always more fun to learn together, and you’ll be able to share new ideas and encourage each other along the way!
8. Subscribe to a podcast. Find a podcast that shares information about financial topics. Podcasts are great to listen to while exercising or getting ready for the day! There are many of them out there. Choose one that supports your financial learning focus of the month.
9. Write & define the terms. Purchase a small notebook or journal that you can keep nearby or in your handbag. If you see or hear a financial term used that you don’t understand throughout your day, write it down. Then, look up the term and write out the definition at the end of the day. Writing this out will help you remember it, and having a written record of it allows you to reference it in the future!
10. Turn your new knowledge into wisdom. You can learn lots of new things, but if you never apply what you learn, it’s useless knowledge. In your journey to increased financial literacy, try to apply what you are learning. This is how you’ll develop new financial habits and increase your financial confidence.
Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Just pick 2 or 3 ideas and start there! You’ll be inspired to learn even more as you learn and grow. Share with others as you learn, and together, we can change the financial literacy and confidence of future generations of women!