As a result of men being the breadwinners and typically managing the household finances, even with more women dominating the workforce and making their own money over the last 30 years, recent studies show that men are still two out of three times more confident in their ability to manage money than women.
This lack of confidence will literally cost women millions of dollars over their lifetime, argues money maven to “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Patrice C. Washington, and author of “Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without A Man,” (HarperCollins; Jan. 16, 2016). “Real Money Answers for Every Woman” teaches you how to take responsibility for your financial future, whether you’re just starting out or need a fresh start. In a handy Q & A format, it offers relatable and easy to understand and implement advice on everything from managing credit cards, home ownership, and student loans to affordable childcare and even negotiating for a higher salary. Following Patrice’s practical advice, you’ll learn to form “wealthy” habits, establish an “opportunity fund,” stop collecting stuff that causes debt and discover the freedom that comes from feeling financially secure.
As a young woman, Patrice rationalized her excessive spending. “I work hard, I deserve this.” “I bought it on sale.” But at 22, she was a college grad with $18,000 in debt and sinking fast. It was time to take control. By educating herself about finance, adopting a new attitude toward money and changing her spending habits, she was debt-free by 25 and used the wisdom she gained to start her own successful real estate and mortgage brokerage. At 29, she started her own financial counseling business.
Patrice’s former bad spending habits aren’t unique, and women find themselves in financial hot water for a host of reasons. Besides the fact that women earn less than men and have to stretch those hard-earned dollars further, they contribute more to caregiving and aging parents, live longer, and many—including most African American women—are choosing to stay single.
Are you ready to get your finances in order and successfully manage your money? Patrice gave us these three tips:
Lesson 1: Affirm you are the CEO of your life. Every woman should know that a man is NOT her financial plan. Married or not, EVERY woman has to take personal responsibility for her personal finances. Why? First, because a man won’t always be around; over 56 percent of women will enter into retirement alone due to divorce or being widowed. Not to mention, your man may not be good with money either. A woman’s involvement usually helps mitigate the risk of loss due to the overconfidence of her partner.
Lesson 2: Never take your gifts for granted. Although over 50 percent of privately held companies are owned by women, that doesn’t mean that every woman wants to be an entrepreneur. Every woman should, however, know how to earn extra income using her unique gifts or talents. Whether there’s a divorce looming or speculation of company layoffs, women should always be equipped to turn creativity into cash at the drop of a dime.
Lesson 3: Negotiate everything ALWAYS. Whether it’s a raise in the boardroom or an upgrade on a new vehicle, never settle for the first price offered. Women who don’t negotiate their job salary at the beginning of their career leave anywhere between $1 million and $1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over their lifetime!
Patrice C. Washington is the author of the financial series “Real Money Answers” and is a featured columnist and leading authority on personal finance. She hosts a weekly segment on the nationally syndicated “Steve Harvey Morning Show.” She has been featured in Women of Wealth Magazine, Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, and on Bloomberg TV and CNN Money. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and daughter.