13 Ways Women Can Take Control of their Future Through Financial Education
Increasing your financial education to keep your money out of the hands of the financial industry
Everyone wants to be rich. The problem is that most people think being rich means having a lot of money. The reality is that rich is not how much money you have but rather a mindset. After all, it doesn’t matter how much money you have—it only matters how much money you keep.
The world is filled with examples of people who have come into large sums of money and wasted it. From lottery winners to athletes to trust fund kids, it’s clear what happens when people who have no idea how money works get their hands on large sums of it. They spend it quickly, recklessly, and until it’s gone—and then some. Hello, massive debt!
So, it’s worrisome when I hear that 70% of inherited wealth over the next two decades will go to women.
Not that it’s a bad thing that women will get this money. Heavens, no! That’s wonderful! But the sad reality is that there is still much work to do in teaching women financial literacy.
As I’ve written before , “90% of all women will have sole responsibility for their finances within their lifetimes…yet 79% of all women have not planned for this.” Additionally, the prime beneficiaries of this wealth transfer will be millennial women, of which only a paltry 18% demonstrate high financial literacy.
Ultimately, if women don’t step up their financial education game, they will be completely taken advantage of by people who will be more than happy to take that wealth out of their hands.
I touched on this a few weeks back when I wrote about how the financial advising industry was ramping up their efforts to attract women clients (see “ Why Women Are the Next Big Financial Advisor Target”).
And as Linda Stern writes for Money , “Companies like Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch, Prudential Financial, and TD Ameritrade are studying the investing behavior of women, in the hopes of winning more of our dollars. They know that when a husband dies, his widow often switches money managers.”
Given this, it’s clear that it’s time for women to rise up and take control of their own financial futures. And this begins with financial education.
The following are 13 ways to get the financial education you need to secure your financial future:
1) Read books
There are hundreds of books about money and investing for those of you who are just getting started and for those who are seasoned investors.
2) Listen to audio books and podcasts
Your drive time is a great time to learn. Load up your smartphone with great audio books and subscribe to podcasts about finance, investing, management, personal development, and more.
3) Invest in educational seminars, workshops, and conferences
These may be free programs in your area or classes you pay to attend. Various community colleges, businesses, community clubs and organizations, and local investment groups often offer such programs. And some are geared for women.
4) Read financial newspapers and magazines
The Wall Street Journal , Investor’s Business Daily, and Barron’s are three newspapers heaped with investment information. Reading those daily will dramatically increase your financial knowledge. And to get a beat on what is happening in your area, subscribe to your local business journal newspaper.
5) Talk with the right real estate, stock, and business brokers
Ask them questions. They can give you a ton of information. Just be aware they also are there to sell you something. So keep your eyes open. I have found the most successful brokers are the ones very willing to share information and education with others.
6) Talk with other investors
Seek out people who are investing in what you are interested in and talk with them. Again, you’ll probably find that the more successful investors are happy to share what they know with you.
7) Join a women’s investment club
According to Ken Janke of Better Investing, women now account for the majority of stock market investment clubs. They’re over 60 percent women now, as opposed to 10 percent in the 1960’s. Personally, I recommend clubs that are focused on investment education, not those that pool money to invest. To find these types of clubs, look online through Google and places like meetup.com. Don’t find what you’re looking for? Start your own.
8) Join a CASHFLOW Club in your area
There are almost 2,000 CASHFLOW Clubs throughout the world. You can find a local one by you by searching “CASHFLOW Club” on Google. Most clubs play the CASHFLOW game on a regular basis, support one another with their investment goals, bring in guest speakers, and learn together how to make the most of their financial futures. Can’t make a club meeting? Play CASHFLOW online for free.
9) Surf the web
Go online and seek out all sorts of information about the investments of your choice. The Web is an incredible source of quick reference materials, meetings and conferences, contacts, blogs, chat rooms, and discussion forums.
10) Drive around town
Get a feel for what is happening with real estate and business in your own backyard. You don’t need to find the “right” city or market to invest in. You simply need to find what’s “right” about your city and market.
11) Watch financial news programs on TV
There are a number of cable programs that are focused on business and investing news. Turn them on when you get ready in the morning. Watch them while you work out. Always find a way to stay informed.
12) Subscribe to financial newsletters
Newsletters can give you a quick summary of what is happening in the various investment markets, economic trends both regionally and globally, and insights into what to watch for in the future.
13) Ask questions
Remember, women, we have the advantage here. Since most women have had such little financial investment education, we don’t have to pretend to know all the answers. (Plus, unlike men, we’re not too stubborn to ask for help, or directions.) The more questions you ask, the smarter you become. Plus, you may find a new mentor in the process.
There are many ways to educate yourself, but this will give you a great starting point. Remember, education never stops. As long as you want to keep growing your investments and expanding your portfolio, there are always new levels of learning.