A smart saving strategy is just one element of achieving financial security – you also need a deliberate plan to manage and make the most of what you have.
Here, 10 money-savvy women share one tip that’s helped them get their finances into a healthier state.
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Millionaires know that diversification is the key to building wealth – they typically have multiple income streams. If you’re serious about securing your financial future, it makes sense to follow their lead. There are plenty of options – think property, shares, bonds, superannuation, your own business or a ‘side hustle’. Treat your finances as a portfolio and start to spread the opportunities and the risk, even if it’s on a small scale, and you’ll be on your way.
Emma Isaacs, Founder and Global CEO, Business Chicks
2. Develop smarter spending habits
I was never bothered about budgeting until I fell pregnant and wanted to take a year off with my baby. Cutting back on expenses was a shock to the system but only because I wasn’t used to it. Develop smarter spending habits – comparing prices, finding cheaper alternatives, setting budgets for activities and outings and so on – and it soon becomes possible to live on a lower income without feeling like you’re missing out. Continuing to do those things, even after I returned to work, has made a big difference to our financial position.
Jade Cerfontyne, Project Manager
3. Seek advice – and follow it!
I spent my twenties and thirties with my head in the sand when it came to money. That finally changed when I was in my early forties and my accountant sent me to see a financial planner. If you’re not comfortable managing money and you don’t know where to get started, professional advice can be so valuable. Work with them to create a plan and start following it. Doing this has helped me to see where I’m heading financially for the first time in my life, and that’s very empowering.
Dale Pope, Founder, Dance by Dale Pope
4. Set aside regular money-management time
It’s easy to tell yourself you’ll get your affairs in order when you have a moment. In my experience, that moment can be a long time coming. Make a date with yourself to do it – and keep it! Mine is an annual ‘money in March’ session where I evaluate my position, review my spending and budget, and set goals for the year ahead and plan how I’ll achieve them. It can take as little as a couple of hours to get on top of things. If you want to ensure your money is working as hard as it can for you, then it’s time you can’t afford not to spend.
Helen Murdoch, MLC General Manager, Workplace Super
5. Don’t leave your financial future in someone else’s hands
During the course of a long marriage, I allowed my former husband to manage all the money matters. That meant I had an extremely steep learning curve when the relationship broke down and I had to take responsibility for myself and my four sons. Maintaining ownership of your finances through your life is the smartest thing you can do, regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship. Your financial future is too important to leave in someone else’s hands.
Anthea Woodhill, Flight Attendant
6. Pause before you purchase
In today’s world, there’s a lot of pressure to buy everything new and it’s killing our finances. Most fashion purchases are only worn a handful of times and many women discard clothes after a single wear, or even unworn. The best solution to wasteful impulse purchasing is to write down the thing you think you want and wait – for 24 hours, or two days, or longer. Whatever works for you. I call it PauseB4UPurchase. If you practise it regularly, you’ll be left with a lot more in your wallet for the things you really want and need.
Rachel Smith, Author of Underspent: how I broke my shopping addiction and buying habit without dramatically changing my life
7. Set your sights on buying your own home
There are lots of ways to build wealth but, in the long-term, the security of your own home is hard to beat. Striving to get a foothold in the property market, however modest, while you’re young is something you’ll really thank yourself for a couple of decades down the track. My friends were shocked when I bought a house at 21, but I am where I am today because I took that first step.
Joanne Ke, Self-funded retiree
8. Educate yourself about the financial products you use
It’s difficult to manage your money effectively if you don’t understand the way things work. Getting to grips with the financial products you use – your mortgage, personal loans, credit cards and superannuation – will help you make better decisions. Get good information that explains it in a straightforward way and you’ll find it’s not as complex as you expect. If you don’t take control, you may end up losing some of your own money – I don’t think any of us want that!
Jenny Rolfe-Wallace, Financial Educator and Founder of Sprout Education Group
9. Stash as much as you can into super
Working for many years for a company that made additional contributions on my behalf helped me to accumulate a healthy super balance. It’s made a big difference to the lifestyle I can enjoy in retirement. That’s what super is really all about – freedom and choices – and that’s why keeping it front of mind from the start of your working life is so important. Sixty comes around very quickly and if you don’t make building your balance a priority, it may not happen.
Melanie Schwarzman, Self-funded retiree
10. Make money management a daily activity
Starting my own business was a calculated risk, and maintaining tight control of my finances has helped me to make it a success financially. I look at my bank account every day and allocate all the money I earn to different accounts, for different purposes. Know exactly where you stand with your finances at all times and there’ll be no nasty surprises. That’s a really good feeling!
Georgia Norton Lodge, Founder, Georgia Draws a House
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