Investing Your Way to Financial Independence
There are many reasons women should start investing. Last week, we looked at the startling statistics—women are severely outnumbered as investors, and this leaves us vulnerable to poverty and debt, especially later in life.
Another reason women must invest is to avoid dependency. Investing provides an avenue to financial freedom, which results in independence from men, the government, your job, or any other person, place, or thing you might depend on for your livelihood and sense of being.
Expectations and Epiphanies
You don’t go into a marriage expecting a divorce. You don’t begin a new job expecting to be laid off. But it happens, and today with more and more frequency. I’ve said this before, but women, if you are depending on a husband, a boss, or anyone else for your financial future, think twice. They simply may not be there for you at the end of the day. Too often we may not even realize just how dependent we are until we’re faced with our own personal wake-up call.
Here is my personal story.
Robert and I have been business partners since one month after our first date. We’ve built several businesses over the years. We were about six years into our entrepreneurial education company when an argument led me to an epiphany. The company was operating in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada. We built the businesses with Robert as the figurehead, the spokesperson, and the visionary, which made perfect business sense.
One day Robert and I had a disagreement. The disagreement grew into a great big fight. In the heat of the argument I stormed out the door of our house. Neither of us were rational at that point. I needed some time to think and headed for a hike in the mountain preserve near our home. As I was alone in my thoughts, reality struck.
All my life I prided myself on being independent. From the time I got my first job in high school I knew that I would not be dependent as long as I could make money. And even though I built this company with Robert from the ground up, the truth slapped me in the face. All of the sudden I realized that if Robert and I were to split up, then I would not only lose my marriage but I would also lose my business! Because Robert was the figurehead of our company, if he left, then the business would collapse. And if he stayed, then I would leave.
Either way, the reality was, without ever realizing, I had set myself up to be totally dependent on Robert. I could not believe it!
I know Robert didn’t see it that way, but I did. That was my wake-up call. And from that moment on, I wanted to be sure that whatever decisions I made were decisions that were right for me… and not my bank account.
Robert and I worked through our argument, and it was very clear to both of us that we wanted to be together for a long time. But that wake-up call had a life-changing impact on me. Up to that point I had purchased a few rental properties, but I looked at it as a hobby. Now I saw it as my means to freedom. That’s when the passion kicked in and investing was no longer a hobby to me, it was a mission.
Redefining my marriage and my sense of self
There was one huge unexpected benefit that I got as I turned into an investor. Once I understood the game of investing and I learned how to make money passively, without working, then I realized for the first time that I no longer needed Robert.
What was even more enlightening was that I discovered that I wanted to be with Robert, not out of need but out of want. At that point our relationship took on a new meaning. We were together simply because we both wanted to be together—not because it was financially beneficial.
Another immense gift I received is that my self-esteem grew in this whole process. As a result of that, Robert and I had more respect, more love, more equality, and more happiness in our marriage than ever before.
How about you? Are you dependent on someone other than yourself for your financial well being? If so, today is the day to start thinking how you can be financially self-sufficient. You’ll be a better person for it, and your relationships will flourish as the pressure of dependence is lifted and the joy of true partnership grows.