These financial tips make all the difference
Why do I want to share all my favorite financial tips? Well, as my daughter and her friends finished their first year working in Manhattan, it became evident that equal pay and sexual harassment are still challenges for most women.
As they navigated difficult hurdles at their offices, they would ask me my thoughts on a supervisor’s actions, a co-worker’s response, or a corporate policy. And I realized that women of all creeds and colors still face many of the same issues we did years ago.
So to help them, I’ve written the financial tips I wished someone had given me in my twenties.
1) Demand equal pay
Do not assume your employer pays equitably. On average, women earn 82 cents to every $1 men earn. For African-American women, it’s 79 cents; for Hispanic women, it’s 78 cents. So over 40 years, women lose several hundred thousand dollars, with the highest loss in Latino women’s salaries with more than $1.1 million in their lifetime.
Why is this important?
It affects your family, retirement, social security, and ability to withstand any unforeseeable financial emergencies.
So how do you verify your company’s salary range?
Check LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Ask other people in your network. Some corporations have strict policies against employees sharing salary information. Do not be shy. Find out anyway. Also, before joining a company, ask about their policies on paid sick leave, 401K, and medical insurance coverage. Once you do, negotiate hard.
2) Ditch the Louis Vuitton bag for the Stock Market
The average Louis Vuitton bag is between $1,000 to $6,000. However, if you invest that money in the stock market with compound interest, you can make more money. For example, if you had invested $1,000 at the beginning of the bull market of March 2020, you would now have $2,020.
3) Start an Emergency Fund
Many young people falsely believe that nothing can happen to them. But the pandemic has proven to all of us that bad things do occur. The emergency fund covers unexpected expenses due to sudden job loss, car breakdown, or family funeral. Have at least a savings buffer of three to six months to protect your average monthly expenses — rent, food, gas, medical, etc., and a bit more. And an emergency is not flying to your friend’s fancy destination wedding. Keep your emergency fund separate from your checking account, so you don’t dip into it for daily expenses.
4) Ditch Credit Card Debt
Coming out of college with a debt of any kind is challenging. Please don’t add to it with credit card debt. Think before you buy and avoid impulse shopping. Focus on your needs and not on your wants. Pay off the monthly balance and avoid cash advances, leading to extra charges. Get your annual credit score for free at https://www.annualcreditreport.com
5) Know Where Your Money Goes
Track your expenses and keep your receipts. Is that Starbucks daily latte costing you $160/month? How much is your gym or car insurance? Check everything and shop around for better values, including clothes, shoes, food, and even eye exams.
6) Is Your Company Female Friendly?
You may not know the answer until you’ve been at a company for a while. But you’ll soon notice if management ignores a supervisor for promotion after her second maternity leave or overlooks your perky, blonde colleague because she “lacks gravitas” and is asked to get coffee instead of pumping out the data report. These unconscious judgments on women have far-reaching consequences on earning potential. Observe if your company promotes more men than women. If you see these patterns repeatedly, plan your exit. Protect your financial future.
7) Do Not Assume Your Employer Has Your Back
Companies protect themselves, their bottom line, and their CEO, no matter what they claim in their annual reports or office memos. Remember, you are expendable. The sooner everyone learns this about big companies, the sooner women can make better decisions about their values, work-life balance, and careers.
8) Plan For Your Financial Future
Planning for your financial future involves keeping a monthly budget, a college debt pay-off plan, an emergency fund, retirement savings, and insurance coverage. This could also include asking your partner or spouse about their financial goals and if the two of you view spending and saving in the same way. Since money is a significant source of conflict in relationships, this has long-term consequences for many couples.
9) Where You Live Matters
Whether it regards taxes, health care, educational systems, career opportunities, or just quality of life, where you live matters; when we’re young, we don’t realize how much a place influences our lives, but it does in many ways.
10) Watch Out for Your Sisters
I have always relied on the “Girlfriend Network,” which has saved my butt more than once. Because of that, I pay it forward. I hope you will too by making friends with your female colleagues and watching out for them. We’re all in this together.
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