Do you find yourself spending half your waking life worrying about money? If so, you’re not alone!
Perhaps not surprisingly, a study carried out by consumer watchdog Which? found that women worry about money way more than men; with nearly half the men interviewed describing their finances as good. This compared to only a third of the women. Well, we say “whatever” to those statistics!
Of course we worry, and for good reasons too. Not only are we trying to look good, we’re also raising families, caring for elderly relatives, working, juggling budgets. Let’s not forget trying to find enough hours in the day to get all of these done!
However, there are things we can do in our lives to ensure that the stress doesn’t become unmanageable. After all, if stress is affecting our sleep and how much we enjoy our everyday lives, then there is a problem.
First, it’s worth looking at WHY women experience so much more financial-related anxiety. Let’s have a look at some of the financial challenges that women have to contend with:
Insecurity About Finances
Many of us earn less than our male partners and so there is always the worry about what we’ll do should anything happen to our partner.
Of course, this insecurity is intensified if the relationship is a bit rocky or if there are children involved.
Women Make the Majority of Financial Decisions
Even though women generally earn less, we tend to be the ones that make the majority of the financial decisions. This includes the decisions in our homes, what car to buy to where to go on holiday (according to a study done by the Department for Work and Pensions).
On top of this, women are in charge of the day-to-day budget for the household, something we all know can cause a lot of stress, especially if we have our head stuck in the sand about our financial situation!
We’re Worried About Our Future
According to a report by the TUC (Trade Union Centre), men have larger pension pots than women.
Whereas men have on average £14,500 in defined contribution pension schemes, women have a comparatively measly £7,500.
This difference is due to the fact that many women leave work at some point in their career to raise children and so tend to fall a few rungs down the career ladder.
This leads us to worry more about what will happen in the future and how we will survive in old age.
We Tend to Be the Carers
In most cases, women tend to take the time off to care for both children and elderly relatives.
And even though many of us wouldn’t have it any other way, this still puts a damper on our earning potential, something that can put a strain on the household budget and lead to money-related anxiety.
With a distinct link between stress and long-term health problems, it’s so important that we do what we can to knock this stress on the head if we want to avoid things like heart disease, diabetes, and serious depression.
On top of that, all this worrying limits our options in the world and keeps the status quo as it is. The relationship between women and money may be tricky. But to improve your feelings of self-worth and competency it’s important to get financially savvy!
Read on to find out how to minimize finance-related stress and be a boss when it comes to money!
1. Take The Bull By The Horns and take Control of Your Finances
Knowledge really is power when it comes to money, so the first step to beat stress is to sit down with a cup of tea (save the wine for after you’re done!) and have a good long honest look at your financial situation.
If this seems a bit intimidating, get your partner (who should be involved anyway!) or a good friend to help.
Make a list of all your monthly incomings and outgoings and have a look at your bank account, any credit cards, mortgage products, utility bills, and anything else of financial importance.
The worst thing we can do when it comes to money is bury our heads in the sand, something that a lot of us tend to do when faced with stressful situations.
Once you are really aware of your financial situation, you can start to take control and educate yourself on what your options are going forward, plus you can set yourself a manageable budget.
2. Look For the Positive!
While this may sound like a cliché, bear with me! It’s so easy to focus on what is wrong with your finances instead of concentrating instead on being grateful for what you DO have and what is going right.
Just this small change of focus will have an amazing effect on your stress levels!
It may be worth keeping a gratitude journal where you write down a few things each day that you’re thankful for. It may seem odd at first, but with practice it’ll become easier and you’ll start to look for things that going right instead of going wrong.
3. Have An Emergency Fund in Place
If you don’t think you need an emergency fund, think again.
According to the Which? survey mentioned above, financial insecurity is one thing that women worrying about the most. We especially worry about things that could go wrong in the future, such as a broken boiler or a car breaking down.
In order to minimise this stress, it’s a great idea to have an emergency fund in place. That way, if the boiler does break down in the middle of the winter, you have the money stashed away to fix it!
Having an emergency fund in place will help put your mind at rest – trust me it’s worth it. There are various ways to fund an emergency fund from garage sale to getting a part-time to job or working overtime. To get started, you can download our handy guide on how to build an emergency fund in 6 months.
4. Save and Invest Your Hard-Earned Money
Make a pact with yourself to be more sensible with money—instead of spending it on frivolous items, use your money to grow your net worth and build a secure financial future.
After all, those impulse purchases do nothing for your stress levels or your financial situation! It’s much wiser to make a commitment to yourself to save at least 10% of your income each payday by putting it into a savings or investment account.
If you cannot save 10% of your income right now, then start with 1% of your income – the key is to get started, even as little as £5 per week will do.
5. Seek Advice for your money
If you find yourself really struggling with financial stress, consider seeking the help of a financial specialist. This is someone who can offer structured financial advice and help you put your financial worries into perspective.
If you prefer a woman advisor, check out this list of female money experts who can help and motivate you to achieve your financial goals.
Now it’s Over to You!
Do you find yourself worrying about money a lot? What can you do today to reduce financial stress and take charge of your finances? We’d love to hear from you!
Esther Mukoro is the founder of Money Nuggets. Money Nuggets is a Personal finance blog for women who want to take charge of their finances, achieve their financial goals and secure their financial future. Our goal is to empower women through financial literacy.