Health, love, meaning – a successful life unites many areas. Money is also part of it to a certain extent. Even so, many women do not take care of it themselves. We’ll show you how to change that.
When women are asked what they would advise their younger selves when it comes to finances, one tip is most often given: Do not become dependent on others! This is a concern for 51 percent of those surveyed, and 58 percent of older women aged 45 and over, according to a representative survey by the opinion research institute Yougov on behalf of the investment platform Weltsparen.
The result is no accident. Many women experience the consequences of financial dependence as they age. Because the wage losses that arise because women are still more likely than men to look after the children, are reflected all the more clearly later.
The good news, however, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Even if you have already fallen into the dependency trap, you can change your path at any time – and get your finances under control yourself. t-online shows you how to do this with ten tips.
1. Take the pressure off
First of all: it’s nice that you are here! You have already done the hardest part. You have picked yourself up and read into a topic, even though it may give you a stomach ache. That alone is great – and you can let yourself be aware of that.
It’s okay not to know a lot yet, maybe not to understand some things right away. Be lenient with yourself even when financial hardship is great. Making life difficult for yourself will only get you there more slowly.
2. Question your own settings
In the course of our lives we all develop certain ideas about what is right and what is wrong, what to do and what not to do. Much of it is stored subconsciously and makes some decisions easier for us. But sometimes certain beliefs also hinder us.
So take the time to listen to yourself. Why have you shied away from looking at your finances so far? Have you perhaps been shown that money is a man’s business? Do you even think it’s a bad thing to have money? Do you think money spoils character?
You can ask yourself the same about your professional and family situation: Do you work part-time because your mother did it that way too? Do you think you will be expected to take care of the household and children? Or is it really your personal wish or is it the only way as a single parent?
Only when you recognize which harmful mechanisms are at work in the background can you take countermeasures and work step by step to develop new, helpful beliefs. For example, try not to value money in itself. Money is neither good nor bad. It’s a means to an end. In the next step you decide which one it is.
3. Set an emotional goal
Maybe you know that: You are highly motivated, want to change something in your life, but then something else is more important again? That brings us to the point: what you want to achieve should be your priority.
This works best when you are emotionally charged with your goal. If you not only know what you are doing something for, but this reason is also linked to a strong positive feeling, it will automatically be easier for you to motivate yourself to do it.
In the case of financial independence, such emotional goals could be, for example, that you want to enjoy your retirement without worries, that you want to finally live your dream of traveling the world or that you want to finance your children’s education. The more feeling associated with it, the better!
4. Determine the status quo
You now know what has kept you from worrying about your money so far and why that should change from now on. But what is your exact starting point?
Before you start turning your finances upside down, you should get an overview – and answer a few questions: How are you financially now? How much wealth do you have and in what form? Do you own anything or do you even have debts?
And what about the areas that are directly related to your finances? How much money does your job bring? Do you like to do it? Are you satisfied with the division of labor in the family or would you rather concentrate more on your career? Make yourself aware of what can remain as it is and what should change.
5. Initiate changes
Enough preparation, now it’s time to get down to business: find out about money and how to get more out of it. The knowledge for this is available – often free of charge – on the Internet, and not just from t-online.
Whether as a podcast, online workshop or advice article, use the information that is offered – even if it is only ten minutes a day to start. In this way, you will become a little smarter little by little and, ideally, you will develop a lot of fun with the thing.
If you have noticed that you would like to regulate something differently in the partnership, seek the conversation. Certainly not everything can be overturned overnight, you may also encounter resistance. Nevertheless: State clearly what you want. That is the basis of any lasting relationship.
This could include, for example, financial compensation from your partner that he pays you because you are responsible for most of the child-rearing. Read here why such a payment should be taken for granted.
6. Reduce debt, build nest egg
The basics of investing also include laying the right financial basis. You should only invest money and use it to build the long-term wealth you can spare. After all, you don’t want to interrupt this process straight away just because the washing machine or the car gives up.
For precisely such cases, you need a nest egg, consisting of around three net monthly salaries. In addition, you should first take care of paying off any debts.
We’ll help you with both the good old budget book. Because it gives you an overview of what goes out each month and what comes in each month. As a rule of thumb, it can be said that you should save at least 10 percent of your income per month.
However, the optimal level of the savings rate is completely individual, as it not only depends on what you want to use the savings for, but also on how high your income is. With a net salary of 2,000 euros, with the same savings rate, you can logically reach your goal twice as quickly as with a salary of 1,000 euros.
Of course, not everyone is able to increase their savings rate at will. Those who earn little find it difficult to build up reserves at all, because fixed costs such as rent, transport, electricity and mobile phones already consume the majority of the income. Nevertheless, almost everyone has the potential to save money. Here we have listed 23 tips that will give you more money to live on.
7. Invest money
Saving is good, investing is even better. Of course, if you need a certain amount of money in the short term, you should invest your money in such a way that you can easily access it when you need it. Daily or fixed deposit accounts are suitable for this. These banks currently have the highest interest rates.
When it comes to your financial freedom, the focus is usually on building long-term wealth. And in times of zero or even negative interest rates, this works best on the stock market.
A savings plan with so-called index funds, or ETFs for short, is particularly suitable for this. This stands for Exchange Traded Funds. In ETFs, a computer algorithm maps an index such as the Dax or the worldwide MSCI World. So ETFs always develop in the same way as the index they track.
You don’t need to have any assets to set up a savings plan. With many providers you can already invest money from 25 euros a month – with some there is no longer a minimum amount. You can find out what sums you can get with the help of our savings plan calculator.
If you want to invest in ETFs, you need at least 10, preferably 15 years to be able to sit out any crises. You should also opt for an ETF that tracks a global index. This is how you spread the risk.
8. Trying is better than studying
In contrast to men, women tend to want to understand everything exactly before they dare to try something new. This is generally good and can also pay off in the long term. Conversely, doing this shouldn’t end up doing nothing because you’re afraid of making mistakes.
Every month that you wait longer to invest your money profitably diminishes the wealth that can come out of it in the end. This is due to the so-called compound interest effect, which has an impact the earlier you let your money work for you.
Therefore: Take the plunge into the deep end, even if you have not yet written a doctoral thesis on the financial crisis. If you are really too insecure on your own, seek help from professional counselors or friends who are one step ahead of you. And then: jump!
9. Be a role model and pass on knowledge
Financial education can still be improved in Germany. There is no school subject “finances” and many parents are not familiar enough to explain to their children how to invest money. So be part of the change yourself and make sure that your friends, colleagues and children get some of your newly acquired knowledge.
Also, show how it can be done and try to raise children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in such a way that they grow up as free as possible from clichés like “Girls can’t do math” or “The man has to support the family” .
10. Don’t get tired of pointing out problems
There are many levers on the way to financial freedom that you can pull yourself. That is a good thing and you should take advantage of it. Nevertheless, women still encounter discriminatory structures for which politics and society have to find solutions.
These include, for example, the wage gap, which is still 6 percent even with the same work and qualifications, the fact that part-time work is paid disproportionately less, or deep-seated ideas about how paid and housework should be distributed between the sexes.
Do not get tired of drawing attention to these problems again and again and encouraging a rethink. So that in the future women will not have any more difficulty than men in becoming financially free.