Stop putting yourself last on your “to do” list. Take the appropriate steps to prepare for your financial future now.
It’s true that these days we all live hectic lives. But consider women who, more often than not, juggle the demands of work, child care, and maintaining a household. While it’s good for each individual and family to have a sound financial plan for the future, women may be more inclined than others to put financial planning at the bottom of a giant heap of daily activities and responsibilities. And they may need a plan more than men: there are many studies that provide statistics illustrating that women earn something like 20% less than men in comparable jobs.
Why else is planning important? It’s not only to fund a comfortable retirement or to help your kids pay for college, it’s also about doing some of the fun and adventurous things you’ve always dreamed of or working toward a specific goal, such as getting an advanced degree, that you may have put off when your children came along.
How does a person begin? First, think about your goals in life. Then, start developing a plan that looks at how you can save money for current and future uses, optimal ways to save for retirement (work benefits, such as 401(k) plans can really help), and cost-effective ways to put away money for college. And think about buying insurance that can protect you in case of disability or disaster.
What’s the foundation of your plan? Paying down any debt you have and starting a regular savings plan that you can stick to. Small monthly savings, begun early, really add up! Make saving a given. Then, educate yourself about the retirement plans your employer offers, to make the most of those plans. Also learn about individual retirement accounts (which are not employer sponsored), which can optimize your savings. And make sure you set aside enough money to cover unexpected drops in income or unexpected expenses.
Think about your future and start planning for it today.