We all have beliefs about money. These beliefs are important as they inform our financial decisions, for better or worse.
Below are five widespread myths that women cling to when it comes to money. All too often, they hold women back from achieving the financial future they’ve always wanted. It’s time to dispel these myths and implement simple strategies that enable you to grow your money and help you accomplish your most important life goals.
1 Money is too complicated
It’s true, the topic of money can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Unfortunately, the financial industry uses so much jargon and so many acronyms that it sounds like they’re speaking another language. You’re not alone if you feel confused or overwhelmed.
When it comes down to it, money isn’t nearly as complicated as it first seems. Instead, it’s the terminology and the people using it that make it difficult to understand.
We use money every single day. If you buy into the 10,000-hour rule (it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something), then many of you are money experts. You might not feel like an expert but, if you’ve been buying groceries, paying rent, or investing for years, then you know a thing or two about money.
If you have 10,000 hours under your belt and you still feel overwhelmed by the topic of money, then you can try to simplify things by looking for resources that speak your language. Seek out blogs, podcasts, and books that break down complex financial information into simple, easy to digest terms.
If you work with a financial professional, ensure their goal is to help you understand your money instead of trying to sound smart and confuse you with unnecessary jargon.
With the right resources, some focused effort, and time, you will come to find that money is not so complicated.
2. “I have time”
It’s hard to think about things like retirement when you’re young and focused on having fun. Who wants to put their hard-earned cash into a retirement account when it could be better spent on travel or concerts, right?
The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re young is to start saving and investing. This is because of a little thing called compound interest … you may have heard of it.
Compounding occurs when you put a sum of money into a savings or investment account and it earns interest. The magic happens when you earn interest on your interest, and your money begins to grow more rapidly.
As a simple example, let’s say that you put $100 into an investment account that earns 5% interest annually.
Year 1: Invest $100, earn 5% interest. $5 in interest earned. $100 + $5 = $105
Year 2: You now have $105 to invest. 5% interest on $105 is $5.25. $105 + $5.25 = $110.25
Year 3: You now have $110.25. 5% interest on $110.25 is $5.51. $110.25 + $5.51 = $115.76
After ten years, you’ll have $162.89.
After twenty years, you’ll have $265.33.
So, when you hear people say “time is money,” this is what they’re talking about!
Compounding works because you’re earning interest on your interest. Given enough time, your interest will be worth more than your initial investment.
The key is time.
Compounding can work wonders if you have time on your side. This is why it’s essential to not fool yourself into thinking you have “lots of time.” Every day you wait is a day lost and that means money lost. Remember, time is money!
Oh, and don’t fall for the idea you need a lot of money to make money. Investing even a small amount over a long enough time can yield significant gains.
3. It’ll just work itself out
If you think your money problems will just magically work themselves out, I hate to break this to you, but they won’t. In fact, they’re far more likely to get worse.
Like a little baby, your money requires attention and nurturing if you want it to grow and flourish. Making your money work for you doesn’t have to be a monumental task. There are a few simple steps you can take to help your money thrive.
- Be connected to how you’re spending your money – you don’t need to have a budget with 20 different spending categories to know where your money goes. If you’re like most people, you have a few usual suspects where you do most of your spending. Start by identifying your two or three biggest spending categories and work toward reducing your spending in these areas.
- Invest – investing allows you to save for the retirement you’ve always wanted as well as other future goals. The key is to get started today and let compounding do its thing.
- Automate – to keep a hands-off approach to your finances, you can automate your savings and investments. Set up your accounts so a percentage of your paycheck is automatically deposited into your savings / investing account before you even see it.
- Seek advice – if you’re confused or overwhelmed by your finances, then find someone who can help you. Look for fiduciary financial advisors who work on a fee for service model.
Money doesn’t just work itself out. If you want to reach your financial goals, you have to be an active participant. Remember, money is like a baby, and no one will care about your money or your baby (or grandbaby) more than you, so take action.
4. Men are better at it
If you’re under the impression men are better with money, you’re wrong. There is evidence to suggest the opposite is true, at least in the investment arena. When it comes to investing, women have been found to outperform men. There are a couple of reasons for this:
Women tend to take a more long term perspective when it comes to investing. This results in fewer trades and a greater propensity to stick to their original plan. On the other hand, men tend to be more overconfident in their investing abilities, trade more frequently, and invest in more speculative stocks.
Women are also more cautious with their money, whereas their male counterparts tend to take on more risk. While this isn’t always the best tactic, it does curb the chances of making a large, speculative investment mistake.
The bottom line is men are not better at money, though men and women do have different approaches.
5. It’s too late
Just as it’s never too early to start caring about your money and investing for your future, it’s also never too late. Starting to save at 40, 50, or 60 means you’ll have to save more than if you began to age 22, but having something is far better than having nothing.
There are things you can do to accelerate your retirement savings if you’re getting a late start.
- Up your monthly investments – invest as much as possible to try to grow your retirement savings. Look for opportunities to supplement your regular income like driving for Uber or Door Dash or even picking up a side gig during the holidays. Hustle your way to more money!
- Reduce your expenses – consider downsizing when it comes to big-ticket items like your home or vehicles.
- Avoid debt – do your best to avoid taking on any additional debt, especially credit card debt.
- Avoid risk – if you’re getting close to retirement age, you don’t want to take on overly risky investments in an effort to make greater returns. Align your investment risks with your age. If you need help with this, you can always speak with a financial advisor.
- Ask for help – talk to a financial advisor about what you can do to achieve your retirement goals.