By Janet Hugo|Certified Financial Planner
Let’s face it, research shows that women are often even more successful at family finances than men.
The truth is that one of the most important aspects to providing successfully for family needs during the various life cycles, is having an income, expenditure and investment plan – and sticking to it. That is exactly what we women are best at.
It starts with willingness to have a plan, being risk averse but not overcautious, being willing to accept advice – and adding a good dollop of common sense along the way. Sadly, men often feel that running the family finances is mainly their job. Yet I have seen them do useful financial and investment plans, but often make horrible mistakes in sticking to them.
A large part of financial success is your or your family’s budget. We all need to continually remind ourselves that spending less than your income equals happiness. Spending more, equals – well, misery. Misery now and later in life.
If only one person in a marriage knows what the budget is, it has only a 50% or less chance of success. Think about basic needs, then nice to have needs, then investment needs to achieve your goals through each stage of life. Don’t be too proud to get advice. It should pay for itself many times over.
The best way to ensure the success of your budget and investments is to stick to the plan as a family team. Yes, not only the wife and husband, but the children as well, need to get involved. Know what the home loan repayment and other critical needs are. Know what an interest rate change will do to your finances.
It’s easier to say no to designer jeans or to a new gadget, if you know that the alternative is less education for kids, or that it will mean a lower standard of living in your retirement. Likewise, it becomes easier to choose a cheaper car, when you know how much your budget allows you to spend on it.
Spending money on credit and paying interest on it for items that waste away before you’ve paid for them, makes no sense at all. Think about the pain of paying back the bank, long after a nearly forgotten holiday, or after the new couches in the lounge are no longer that important to you.
A must read for women (and men!) is: “Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers and Just About Everything Else” by Dan Abrams . He entertains and informs about the many better thans of women in this book.
Women can and must get involved in finances. The disciplines of good spending and investment habits, brings happiness now and in the future.