Sydney Sekese, CFP® professional and FPI 2016 Media Award Winner
There is a Setswana phrase that goes: ‘Mma ngwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng’. Translated directly into English it means ‘a mother holds a knife by the blade (sharpest part of the knife)’. This means that a woman (or mother) will do anything in her power to protect her child from danger.
South Africa annually commemorates Women’s Month in August as a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. Women often put others’ needs ahead of their own. They naturally want to care for others, be there for them, and do their best to serve the people they love.
Women also are often seen as intuitive, thoughtful and compassionate. They can use these qualities to their advantage as they plan for their financial future. Women need to understand where their attitudes and habits about finances come from, and where necessary, write another story. For example, as a young girl you may have watched your father gamble money away or spend foolishly as your mom remained quiet. This could be an inspiration for you to be more assertive in money matters.
A common, local legend assumes that women have a special gift of multi-tasking and completing several projects or tasks on time. Regaining financial confidence is possible if women could use this multi-tasking talent to good use.
Financial confidence is the pathway to inner and outer happiness. The power to discover that pathway is within each and every one of us. But first, we have to know where we want that path to take us. Women have to know what their goals are and in what direction they want to go.
Not identifying their goals is like visiting a foreign city without a map. If women did this, they would probably wander around that city aimlessly. Without financial goals and a road map, it is highly probable that women will miss out on opportunities that lie within their own financial city.
It is suggested that for women to see their intentions clearly, they could ask themselves the following questions: What do I want my ultimate financial destiny to be? What do I want from my money today, as well as years from now? What do I need to do to make my life worthwhile?
Another common local legend assumes that women are more persistent and able to handle life’s hurdles much better than their male counterparts.
To regain financial confidence, women need to understand and accept the natural cycles of money as it ebbs and flows through their lives, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in discord.
Sometimes women will have more than they expected and at other times; money will flow out and they will have less than they thought. These transactions can be exciting and often scary. It is highly recommended that women take the long term view of their financial future via a properly crafted Financial Plan. This plan needs to be dynamic and flexible to cater for changing environment.
There are practical steps that women can adopt to regain their financial confidence. These include:
- Maintaining a proper household budget,
- Checking their credit score and report,
- Ensuring their tax affairs are up to date,
- Reviewing insurance cover,
- Drafting a proper will,
- Paying themselves first,
- Boosting their retirement savings
Mindfulness can help everyone—especially women to become better investors and plan for financial security. Suze Orman mentions in one of her books that women should remember to stay involved with their monies, to nurture healthy money relationships, because what happens to their money affects the quality of their lives and the lives of all they love. Women are encouraged to always to do what is right rather than what is easy, and never to put themselves on sale, because they deserve better than that.