If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know the concept here is all about helping you create a “life you love!” I believe most women would agree that having a life we love involves having a good relationship with our money. Today I want to share my ideas on the 5 things smart women do with their money!
This is a brand new topic for the blog today but it’s a topic that I feel pretty qualified to discuss. Most of you know me as a personal trainer or an Etsy Shop artist but long before any of that, my very first job out of college was at the large brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch. Yep, I was a licensed stock broker!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Finance (from the Univ of Central AR) and completed my Series 7, 63, 65, Insurance and even my Series 8 (management level/options trading). These were all standard licenses required to work in the financial industry and I had pretty much all of them. After Merrill Lynch I went on to online brokerage giant, Charles Schwab and then Lehman Brothers and eventually Smith Barney.
I was a financial consultant and helped guide many people on how to invest their money. It’s really not all that different than being a personal trainer! You get an idea of someone’s current situation, where they want to be and then come up with a plan to help them get there. It works with fitness and money, too!
My Intro into Money
Money has ALWAYS been a subject of interest to me. I remember as a kid going around the house digging for loose change to happily put into my piggy bank. Not that the change stayed in there for too long but I at least had the inclination to save it! I wasn’t necessarily taught money management skills growing up but in college that all began to change.
I took my first investments class in college and I was instantly HOOKED! The idea of investing your money and watching it grow was fascinating to me. I wanted to know everything about this. I wanted to know this information for myself and I knew I wanted to help others with their money management as well.
My First Job
Eager to do well in an after-school internship at Merrill Lynch, I would drive twice a week (30 min each way) without getting paid. It didn’t matter though, I just wanted to be in the game. My free labor turned out to be a good move. They eventually hired me upon my graduation and my financial career began.
Once I left my entry level position at Merrill Lynch for Charles Schwab, my role in helping people really got going. My job was to call potential investors and try to bring their investment dollars in the door. Some would have smaller accounts of $5-15k and then there would be the bigger fish of several hundred thousand to a million or more.
We would discuss what their goals were, their age, risk tolerance, expected rate of return, etc. Some wanted to invest in individual stocks or bonds while others just wanted to stick to mutual funds or ETFs (exchange traded funds). What I really learned most by being around people with money is that knowledge is power. Knowing how much you having coming in, exactly where it’s going and how to invest it properly is vital to wealth creation.
Knowledge is Power
Whether you’re financially savvy or a total novice, we can all fine tune our skills. And one thing’s for sure, knowledge is definitely power! In our technological age, there’s really no excuse to not have at least a base level of financial know-how. At the very least, we need to ponder the “WHY” behind our earning, spending and investing decisions. Like anything else in life, if we don’t dig a little deeper, we won’t be able to fully harness it’s true power.
Before we get into what I think being smart with your money entails, let’s discuss why this even matters. How does being smart with our money lead to greater happiness, well being and a “life we love?” They say money doesn’t buy happiness but I believe the answer lies in our dreams and goals. What exactly do you want out of your life? This is where the real fuel comes from. Some women dream of being a stay-at-home-mom, others dream of traveling the world, while others are working towards that down payment on their first home.
No matter what your goals are, it is going to require a certain level of financial backing to make this happen. If you’re not a trust fund baby or getting subsidized by your family, being financially savvy is going to be even more important. It will be up to you and maybe a potential partner to be smart and efficient with your money. Today, women earn more than ever before and make the majority of spending decisions in a typical household. We have more spending power then ever. I think we owe it to ourselves to use this position to craft a life we truly do love.
Having clear goals and a strong WHY will be key in staying focused when the inevitable temptations come along. See, I told you fitness and money were very similar, didn’t I? 🙂
5 Things Smart Women do with their Money
Today, I want to share my top 5 things smart women do with their money! Show me the money!
They maximize their earnings – I’m not saying we all need to shoot for CEO level, but whatever you choose to be…be a good one! If you’re in sales, be the best damn salesperson around. If you clean homes, or prepare taxes, be irreplaceable. Take pride in whatever you choose to do and don’t be afraid to ask for what your worth.
- They’re Savvy Spenders – I’m a frugal person but I’m NOT cheap. There’s a big difference! Being frugal means you don’t spend foolishly. A savvy spender buys what is important to them and economizes the rest. For example, if eating organic food is very important to you, then incorporating this expense into your life makes sense. Being frugal means you don’t spend on things that you don’t find value in. You’re just saving money on things that don’t really matter that much. For example, say you don’t really care who your electric provider is, you just want the cheapest rate. On this note, I’m all about using technology when it makes sense. My favorite money saving app is IBOTTA! This free app allows me to save money at a lot of the major stores I shop, like Kroger and Sam’s Club. I also really find it helpful when shopping Joann for my Etsy supplies. They offer a 15% cashback! And that’s on top of any store sales going on. All you do is upload your receipt and you get the cash credited to your account. It’s really a no-brainer! You can get the Ibotta app here. I use it ALL the time. Smart women get cash-back!
They Don’t Do Debt – Smart women EARN interest, they don’t PAY it! Maybe with the exception of a mortgage. Now I realize most of us had to get a car loan somewhere along the line, but did we really need the BMW or Benz when we haven’t paid our credit card off yet?! This is a no-brainer, ladies! You will never get ahead financially if you’re going into debt to fund your lifestyle. Make it a priority to get those debts paid off, pronto! Being debt free is the NEW happy!
- Know Your Net Worth – If you learn anything from this post, let it be this! Figure out your net worth. This is basically taking an accounting of all your assets (checking, saving, retirement, home equity, etc) and subtracting your debts (mortgage, car loans, student & personal loans, credit cards, etc.). The difference will give you your net worth. This is important because it lets you see exactly where you stand financially. When most people are starting out, usually our net worth is negative, yikes! But knowing this number is very helpful in determining if you’re making progress and is the REAL indicator of your wealth. THE easiest way I’ve found to use technology for this is with the free app, Personal Capital. I’ve been using this amazing app for a few years now and just love it. You can safely connect your financial accounts, your debts/loans/credit cards and it easily keeps track of your net worth, your spending and if you’re on track for your retirement. They will even invest your money for you if you need that level of service. I think it’s the BEST financial app out there right now. If you want to check it out and use my link here, we’ll both get an easy $20 when you sign up. Keep in mind the app is free to use!
They Invest for Retirement – Since I started out in the financial services industry, I started investing for my retirement very early. I wish I could say I had the wisdom to leave it alone all these years, but life’s challenges had me dipping into it when I shouldn’t have. Can anyone else relate? Fortunately, I’ve been back on the right path for years now. But saving for retirement is like planting a tree. The best time was 20 years ago and the next best time is today. Not many are perfect with this and the beauty is that it’s never too late. Smart women know they’ll most likely live a long time. Our needs after formal retirement can be several decades worth. We MUST consider living a long time and the possibility of outliving our partners. Smart women save at least 15% of their gross income in their 401k, IRAs or other tax-advantaged accounts. I have several accounts with Fidelity Investments and I’ve also recently tried the app-based firm of Betterment. This is a SUPER easy way to have your money invested for you. All you do is download the app, transfer money into it and Betterment does all the investing for you instantly. You just let them know your risk tolerance and they do the rest. So far, I’ve found this to be really easy and keeps my money full invested. If you’d like to check them out go here. You’ll receive 90 days free money management!
I could definitely go on and on with this topic! It’s such a passion of mine and I will definitely be bringing more money/abundance awareness. Did you enjoy this new subject? Please let me know in the comments what you think!
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Thanks for reading, NOW go live it!