I don't care if you're 25 or 65 – chances are that you’re going to live to be an old lady. If you don't want to be living on the financial edge for the rest of your life, you need to be thinking about how you're going to get rich. It's not a four-letter word, you know. In my book Nice Girls Don't Get Rich I define rich as having all the money you need to live your life the way you want free from concerns about money. Whether you are married or single, no one is ever going to take as good care of you, as you are going to take care of yourself.
I can tell you horror stories about women who thought they would be married to the same man for the rest of their lives only to find themselves divorced and with no or few financial resources of their own. Or those who counted on an inheritance to be their retirement fund, but that inheritance never happened. So here are some tips to get in the money game:
Have a financial goal.
There's not a woman on the face of the earth who doesn't know the number she wants to scale to read when she steps on it. But ask a woman how much money she needs to be rich or what she needs for retirement and she's like a deer in headlights. A financial goal helps you prioritize your spending – and saving.
Pay yourself first.
When you get your paycheck and you've paid your rent or mortgage, utilities, car payment, etc. you're not finished. One other "must pay" is your retirement account. It's not optional. It's required just like all of your other bills. Then, after you've paid yourself, what's left over you can spend on "nice to have" items.
Stay involved in your finances.
If you're married or partnered, don't turn the finances over to your mate to worry about or handle. Be involved with where that money is going. If something were to happen to your partner (either through death, divorce, or incapacitation) you need to know where the money is and how to handle it. If you doubt me, read Barbara Stanny's book, Prince Charming Isn't Coming. It’s a cautionary tale about abdicating your financial responsibility.
Learn about finance and investing.
Liz Weston and Valerie Coleman Morris have websites and books with plenty of tips to help you become more financially savvy. Many companies and institutions offer free financial literacy seminars. Just Google the term “financial literacy” and find one that’s right for you.
Buy a home.
I know that the home buying market has had its ups and downs, but low interest rates make this is the perfect time to get into your first home. Real estate has traditionally been a great way to create equity over time and I have no reason to think that will change for the long-haul. Just beware of shady financing deals. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Too many women wait to get married to get into their first home -- don't be one of them. Your first home doesn't have to be your last.
Dr. Lois Frankel
We want to hear from YOU!
What things do you do to be and stay "rich"?