Hey everyone! Today I’m going to be honest about a small issue I’ve been dealing with this year: I have a huge spending problem. When Friday comes and that direct deposit hits my bank account my fingers are already itching to spend all of it, and (to my shame) it’s not even on necessities. I’m not really sure when exactly this started, but once I started working two jobs and realized that all of it was literally just for me I began to wild out. You see, when you come from humble beginnings there are two common routes to go once you’re finally financially independent: either you hoard it all, or you spend it like crazy. Unfortunately my irresponsible self does the latter, and although the first step is being aware of it I can’t seem to convince myself to actually control it.
That was pretty random and you may or may not relate, but I tell this story because April is Financial Literacy Month and I think it’s so so so so important to discuss just how crucial it is for everyone to have an understanding of their money and how to practice healthy financial habits. Financial literacy is simply a term to describe an understanding of the skills needed to achieve a lifetime of financial security; this means having an emergency savings account, preparing for retirement, and everything in between. If you’re like me and have a long way to go when it comes to establishing responsible money decision-making then it’s time to put your foot down and do something about it, however even if you’re not it’s still necessary to evaluate your own relationship with money every once in a while and ask yourself what you can do to do better or continue at a good pace.
While financial literacy is extremely important for both men and women alike research shows women consistently fall behind, keeping them at a disadvantage when emergencies happen or when they are ready to become financially independent. Unfortunately in 135 out of 144 countries, women have less knowledgeable on financial literacy compared to their male counterparts- that’s literally almost 95% (source). The discrepancies are amplified by differences in education, income levels, and household roles. How is it that even though women are becoming breadwinners at increasingly higher rates and reaching higher positions in the workforce we are still not as financially informed as men? And how do we turn these figures around and raise awareness so that all women can achieve financial security? I can’t do much on my own, but I have compiled a couple of helpful resources as well as initiatives you can take to help this cause.
For comprehensive guides on everything from credit, taxes, banking, and even college and retirement you should definitely head to Bank of America‘s Better Money Habits. In partnership with Khan Academy, BofA offers free online courses with all the information you need if you’re starting from square one or just need to brush up on some stuff. You can also take a short quiz that tailors a selection of videos based on your personal life priorities. This is an amazing tool for everyone, whether you’re still on high school or are already in the workforce, and I highly recommend you check it our and browse through their library.
For women who are already financially independent or are looking to become it, Self Made offers a variety of services for empowering women financially and giving them the resources to invest, start their own business, and grow their money. Just as the title suggests this website is a source for self made women, creating a community for learning and sharing success stories and tips. This resource is specifically for women who are already in the workforce or are looking to join it, however there are so many invaluable tips and inspirational first-hand accounts that it’s definitely something to take a look at. If you’re looking for a good read there’s even a book (Self Made by Nely Galán) that takes you through the process of becoming a self made woman step by step through personal anecdotes and memorable advice.
Some organizations to look into whether you’re in need of financial advice or are looking to volunteer and help raise awareness are MoneyW!SE and New Economics for Women. Both are dedicated to the empowerment of disenfranchised women and families through financial literacy courses, workshops, and other services. If you’re interested in learning more about the statistics and research about women and financial literacy, this paper explores the links between women, financial literacy, and credit cards, while this paper shares data on the gender gap shown around the world. Finally, here is a cute article on why we should teach girls about money from a young age and stop treating finances as taboo.
None of this information is sponsored; rather they’re sources I myself have used or have heard about that I believe can be of use for others. It’s time we start raising awareness about this detrimental gender gap and do something about it!