I specialise in writing personal finance content particularly for women. I am passionate about sharing simple information that enables women to better understand perceived complex areas of personal finance. Equality in the world of finance is the aim, we are getting closer, but are still not at that stage. The more I and other wonderful personal finance writers can write and share with the world the better. Then the more knowledge women will have to make more informed financial decisions.
There are my three big messages that I would love all women to listen to and take inspiration from.
Ask for more than you want
This is something that I constantly see women struggle with. Negotiation of pay. I have seen it in the work place and very much so in the self-employed work space. And is one of the causes of the gender pay gap and subsequently the gender pension gap.
When you apply for a new job be that in the company you work for or at another company do not be afraid of asking for a higher salary. And ask for more than you would be happy with. If you would be happy with a £5k pay rise, ask for £10k. The likelihood is that there will be a negotiation and you will meet in the middle, hopefully at the level that you are happy with. And we can all do with more money!
The same very much applies to pricing up work in the self-employed world. I have spoken with so many women in the blogging world and have given them the confidence to up their prices. Value the years of building your brand, your position in a niche, the traffic to your website, the engagement of your audience and price work appropriately.
I will always say price high. If a client really wants to work with you then they will accept that price you quoted. Or there might be a negotiation, and you might meet at a price somewhere in the middle. Never start a negotiation at your acceptable price as you may end up with less after a negotiation. And if they accept your quoted price immediately, you have probably quoted too low.
Don’t fear investing
A subject so close to my heart is sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for investing my money. I have personally seen a great return on an amount of money that I regularly invested every month since my early 20’s.
Investing sounds complicated and is often perceived to be ground of city type men. But it really isn’t. Its so simple now to open a stocks and shares ISA with companies like Vanguard or Fidelity. The ISA will take a few minutes to open and all providers will help you choose a risk strategy that is right for you. Basically, the longer you are going to leave your money the more risk you can take with the plan you choose. I know that my money is locked away for at least ten years, so I have chosen the riskiest stocks and shares ISA my provider has.
Investing involves risk, and many women are risk averse, preferring to save their money in cash, savings accounts or cash ISAs. Indeed, there is risk with investment, but you are in it for the long term meaning that you ride the ups and downs of the market. In the long run you are much more likely to gain, and the returns are far greater than if the money had been left in cash. Have a read of my recent article about the cost of delay.
Put yourself first
Planning for your financial future is so important and having a decent personal pension provision will mean your longer-term future is secure. Please do think about sorting out your pension for yourself before thinking about putting money aside for your children’s future.
I realise the mothering instinct is put our children before ourselves, but they have a whole life ahead of them, with many years of earning potential. We have less years so must prioritise a plan for the future.
I have heard many stories of women relying on their husbands for income, but what happens if that relationship breaks down? Women must look after themselves and ensure they have money behind them if life changes.
I recommend all women have an emergency fund, with at least three months of expenses. Six months would be more ideal and prudent. At this point it is important to say that credit card debt should be repaid. I would then have a fund for one off large spends including holidays, Christmas, anything costing a large chunk of money. After all of that has been provided for excess money can be invested.