Women’s month is quickly coming to an end, but the issues highlighted around female empowerment and the challenges women face won’t end come September.

One such issue that should continue to draw attention is that of women and financial independence. We tend to view our finances as a very private matter, and rightly so. For this reason, however, we need to take effective responsibility for our own personal finances. Consider the following:

  • Make a commitment to take charge of your finances and not to leave your financial future in the hands of anyone but yourself (including your spouse and other family members and loved ones).
  • While “big picture” financial management is important,it is the effective day-to-day handling of your finances that will have the determining impact on tomorrow. Impulsive or wasteful expenditure should be avoided at all costs.
  • Manage your debt well enough to make sure it does not impact your lifestyle or, ultimately, your retirement. Avoid what is deemed to be “bad debt” at all costs (namely debt for unnecessary purchases serviced at high interest rates).
  • Be careful not to underestimate your savings and investment needs. Living longer and having children increases your cost of living overall and you will need to save more to compensate.
  • There are hundreds of savings tips specifically for women, try them out. Things like DIY beauty treatments, bulk buying and reselling old clothing etc. Stick with the ones that work for you.

Proverbs 31 identifies the qualities that a women should embody when it comes to her finances. Luke 14:28 says, “For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost whether he has enough to finish it”.

Create and stick to your own financial plan, don’t let you financial future be undermined by the impulse purchases you make today. Make financial independence your goal this month and every month. It is a long road but a rewarding destination.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

piggybankAugust is Women’s Month. Many celebrated across the country last Tuesday in honour of the women who marched in protest to the Union Buildings on 9 August, 1956.

While strides have been made, each year, as a nation, we reflect on the work still to be done in overcoming the challenges women face.

Financial literacy amongst women is one of these challenges. The negative consequences of this are compounded by the fact that:

  • On average, women earn less than their male counterparts
  • Many women will, at some or other stage in their career, take time off work to care for family
  • More and more households are headed by women, who are the primary breadwinners

In certain circles, successful career women are still frowned upon instead of being celebrated.

These challenges will take some time to resolve. The first step is to empower women through promoting financial literacy and enabling them to become financially independent. The necessary information, resources and expertise are available. How can women more readily access and take advantage of them?

Consider the following:

  • Ensure you have a financial plan that suits you; if you don’t have a plan or are following one created by a partner, you may well not achieve your desired goals
  • Create a budget that works for you and stick to it
  • Women typically live longer than men and, as a result, need more retirement savings to see them through their sunset years
  • The time women spend out of employment while caring for young or elderly family members can have a significant, negative impact on their ability to save for short and long term goals. For this reason, this needs to be considered when creating a financial plan.
  • Sound financial advice from a suitably accredited planner will go a long way to ensuring you avoid costly mistakes and put the necessary steps in place to ensure you become financially independent.

women financeProverbs 31 speaks about “the virtuous wife.” The three important lessons to be taken from the passage about women and finances are to:
I. Take initiative
II. Be diligent and hard working
III. Spend and invest your money wise

Looking at how far women have come in our country in terms of achieving equality, we have many successes to celebrate. As we look to the future, women need to further empower themselves in many aspects of life, finances included.

Susan .B. Anthony said “I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet”. Become the independent financial woman you are meant to be.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

u growthWe are well into the second half of the year. Tax season is in full swing. Savings Month has come and gone. The much anticipated local government elections are behind us and we eagerly await to hear the results. Watching the election campaigns of the various parties, there was a strong focus on the future and how we can move our country forward. This is something we need to reflect on ourselves as well: if we want to be financially independent in the future, we need to make that choice today so that we can put the necessary steps in place to make it happen.

The same process that we apply when choosing a local government official applies in personal financial planning as well:
1. Reflection. Review your income and expenses for the past few months and identify where you can cut back and where you can save.
2. Planning. Create a budget, stick to it and review it regularly to ensure you can meet your needs both now and in the future.
3. Support. If you are married, ensure your spouse is involved in the budgeting process and get the support you need from those around you so that you can be held accountable for doing what’s necessary to achieve your goals.
4. Execution. The best financial plan in the world is worth nothing if it is not implemented. Ensure that the decisions you make every day are in line with your plan

Having a financial plan is not only for the elite. In fact, studies have shown that people of all income levels can benefit from a financial plan.

It has been said: “If you fail to plan you are planning to fail”. Avoid financial failure by making the necessary plans today; it is a “vote” for your future well-being.

1 Corinthians 4:2 says: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy”. We need to be good stewards of our finances because not doing so will lead us into financial distress. While following a sound financial plan will not remove all financial stress, it will go a long way towards reducing it.

Lesetja Madiba is a Financial Wellness Consultant at Citadel.

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