5 Money Habits of Highly Successful Young Women
1. Knowing Where Your Money Is Going -- and Coming From
Whether you're a full-time employee or self-employed, it's impossible to create or build a plan around your finances if you don't know what's happening with your money first. Use a website like Mint, You Need a Budget, or Manilla as a starting point for tracking your money and build a spending plan. If you're on a variable income, it's even more important for you to get a handle on things. Once you're synced up, you're going to see the areas in which you're over- (or under-) spending and where you need to make adjustments. Take note on what's going towards saving for your future self and how much is going towards debt pay down.
2. Saving Routinely –- Set it and Forget it
Since women are known to live longer than men on an average basis – it's even more important to build up an adequate cushion for those extra years. Saving on an ongoing, automatic basis sets you on a direct path to a healthy financial future. And not only are you training yourself to treat your savings like a bill payment, but you're also taking advantage of compound growth along the way. If you're using your savings account to fund your lifestyle when your checking account balance gets low, or throwing money aside "if" you have some left over, break those habits. Start saving routinely for emergency funds, retirement, and future goals.
3. Using Credit Wisely
Knowledge is power when it comes to the difference between good debt and bad debt. Student loans and mortgages are typically on the good end, while credit card and other consumer debt are on the bad end. Saving money into a "splurge" account to use instead of whipping out the plastic for impulse purchases is a great way to curb credit card use. Get into the habit of checking your credit score annually and being responsible by paying balances off in full each month or more than the minimum due to save interest build-up and reduce stress.
4. Knowing When to Say Yes and No
Saying no to items that can derail your financial plan, like last-minute vacations, dining out and impulse purchases. I'm not saying you can't do these things. Savvy ladies just have a plan for these expenses. Say yes to career and educational experiences that add to your value and ability to earn an income. Women still earn less than men, on average. Your most valuable asset as a young professional is your ability to earn an income (human capital). Taking continuing education classes, reading personal development books, seeking out a mentor and staying current on trends and developments within your industry will enhance your earning power and ability to save.
5. Having Protection
As a powerhouse young woman, having the right kinds of protection in place will guard you against potential future income loss. Check on your disability, life, health, auto and home or renters insurance annually or when there are changes to your situation. Ensure you understand coverages, premiums and deductibles. Disability insurance is a big one. If something happened to you, taking you out of the workforce for an extended period, what would you live off of? Is your income protected? Also, having an estate plan in place if you're over the age of 18 is just plain smart. Get a will and powers of attorney in case something happened to you. Communicate with those you designate powers to and make sure your wishes are documented. This habit makes it easier for you –- and your family and friends as well.
Mary Beth Storjohann is a certified financial planner and the founder and CEO of Workable Wealth.