Building the Foundations for Financial Security and Independence

By: Pichi Bellingrath McClure

There will always be unforeseen circumstances that affect cash flow. Who could predict being quarantined due to the novel global COVID-19 pandemic and all its economic destruction?

Discrimination against women in the workplace also persists. With all the advances with women over the decadeswomen still generally earn 18% less than men?

Robin Bleiwier of the DC Think Tank Center for American Progress writing :

Since the second half of the 20th century, the participation of women in the labor market has increased considerably. Women work longer hours and pursue higher education. However, despite progress, significant wage gaps between men and women persist – especially for women of color.

Additionally, Bleiwier argues that according to “…the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018, women of all races earned, on average, just 82 cents for every dollar earned by men of all races.”

[Related: Five Strategies for Narrowing the Gender Pay Gap]

With such a financial disparity between men and women, coupled with circumstances beyond our control that unfortunately alter our lives and finances, it is essential that women learn about financial literacy.

The reason being? Women lose twice.

First, women lose to win a equal pay. Second, bad luck in life strikes everyone, but for women it is compounded. Since women don’t have as much financial power, we can’t recover from unforeseen events so easily. In short, we have less money to work with upfront to help us recover from an emergency.

How to level the playing field? It’s dual. First, we must be proactive in increasing our value for our organizations. This can be done by:

  • Acquire new skills.
  • Fill gaps in business capabilities.
  • Propose savings strategies.
  • Propose new sources of income.
  • Rationalization of current operations.

There are also tools to help women investors grow their portfolios. Compound interest is a powerful money-maker over time because interest is earned on the principal amount and any accrued interest. A one-time investment of $5,000 earning 7% interest compounded annually will grow to $19,348.42 over a 20-year period. Historically, you will double your money every seven to ten years.

Albert Einstein knew that compound interest had the potential to transform and embolden lives. He supposedly declared that “compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe”. It works 24 hours a day. You can imagine it as if there are financial soldiers working for you 24 hours a day. These soldiers work for you when you work, when you play and even when you sleep.

[Related: Why Women Need to be Wealthy and What We Can Do to Get There]

Financial tools are unbiased, gender, sex and color neutral, non-discriminatory and non-biased. Financial tools level the playing field when it comes to workplace discrimination and unforeseen emergencies. The financial tools are there for you to learn, master and apply, so you can build security.

There is a plethora of information available. Many free tools teach the basics of personal finance, such as budgeting, saving, investing, and planning for retirement. Free resources include:

  • American Association of Individual Investors.
  • Kiplinger report.
  • The morning star.
  • Mad motley.
  • Avant-garde.
  • Schwab.
  • Price TR.
  • Loyalty.

The brutal reality is that no one will be more concerned about your money than you are. Fortunately, the upside is that you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to learn the tools of financial independence. Nobody needs to be an expert, but you need to know the lexicon and the basics of finance to know if you’re getting the right advice.

For many women, the idea of ​​managing money is intimidating, even frightening. The only way to overcome fear is to engage what you fear. There’s no better time than the present to get up, stay in control, and take charge of your financial future. Once you cross the threshold of financial insecurity and fear, you will be stronger, smarter, and emboldened in the face of any unforeseen situation that comes your way.

We can never predict the future, but we can prepare financially and possess security and peace of mind. We have not yet closed the financial disparity between women and men. One day soon, we women will earn equal pay for our great impactful work in society and in the world. Until that glorious day, we can level the playing field through career advancement, financial literacy, and investing.

Once you can protect yourself through financial security, share this knowledge and empower and protect your mothers, sisters, and daughters. In doing so, we are changing the system for the better – one woman at a time.

[Related: Why Women Work for Less, and How to Change the Pattern]

Pichi Bellingrath McClure is a resilience expert. She helps people build personal leadership and overcome the impossible with her content, tools and strategies. To subscribe to his twice-weekly resilience tips and follow her on LinkedIn, Twitterand instagram.

Sarah J. Greer