I have a pranic healer.
I’m 32 years old, and I’m fairly certain that, short of inheriting some magic beans, I’m never going to be able to afford a home.
When it comes to happiness, is money overrated, or underrated?
How many of these can you check off the list?
If only making money was as easy as spending it…
Read on before you tell your boss where they can stick it.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care.
Luke McDonnell got more than he bargained for when he tried to sell his car.
Being cash-strapped is stressful enough.
It’s your most powerful asset.
Murder is murder – it should be as simple as that.
This divorce could get very ugly.
A man is not a plan, but they enjoy higher salaries now and more wealth later. To be precise, 17.5 per cent a year higher and $1 million over a lifetime more (the estimated dollar detriment for women who are in their 30s and 40s today).
It certainly doesn’t help that females are still the more likely sex to take career/pay breaks to raise kids.
Bottom line: the system is dreadfully biased against women… so it’s time to man-up your money plan. Here are five easy ways to ensure we hit the same financial heights.
1. DON’T be scared to go for a pay rise – back yourself with your boss (your partner would)
Women are notoriously shy about asking for the salary we deserve, often because we can’t quite accept we deserve the job in the first place. This is the so-called, so-common ‘imposter’ syndrome. I’m betting you do deserve it – your employer clearly thinks so – and if you put a calm and convincing case for extra cash (including evidence of your contribution), it will be granted (even if it takes a while).
2. DON’T trust super – it will fail you unless you pay in more before and after children
Super has only been compulsory since 1992 but already women are retiring with less than half the balances of men because it is earnings-based. Indeed, super is actually sabotaging us: it’s lulled us into the false belief that a comfortable retirement is assured. Far from it, but you should avert disaster if you make even small extra contributions in periods when you are working and any possible when you are not (check out the free money available via the co-contribution scheme and tax incentives for spouse contributions). The early years are crucial for compounding.
3. DON’T trust your partner – to always provide for you, that is. For many reasons, he might not be able to
Not to get too grim, but death, divorce, dire money decisions… they could all leave you broke. Besides, what a responsibility for a man to shoulder your financial future too on the basis of out-dated gender roles. He may be clueless! Get across the basics of your money life: know your accounts (and be sure you can access them), your insurances (ensure they are enough) and your investments (check they are suitable). Come what may you need to be protected.
4. DON’T just think about your family – you owe it to them to also look after your future
‘The woman’s money is the family’s money, the man’s money is his money,” a participant in a recent RMIT University study of females and finance said succinctly… and scarily. And another added: ‘It’s a mother’s job to go without.” No, no, no. This is the attitude at the root of our ultimate income inferiority. If you need further motivation: what if your kids came to you for money as adults and you couldn’t help?
5. DO dare to dream – the situation is serious but also easily fixed if you simply make prosperity a priority
You don’t amass money for money’s sake. You do it to have options, to have opportunities. So decide exactly what it is you want from LIFE. Crystallise these precious aspirations and the process of achieving them – and the small sacrifices it may take along the way – will seem so worth it.
Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.
Teaching kids about money used to be as simple as: “This is the pay envelope with our cash for the week.” These days credit and debit cards, internet banking and – pretty soon – transacting via mobile phone mean money has become almost invisible to children. Add to that technology traps like unexpected in-app purchases and unfathomable mobile plans, and parents face a big challenge raising modern money managers.
These are the seven vital lessons to impart if your children are ever to fend for themselves financially.
1. Even though you seldom see money, it does disappear
Everyone has a finite amount on which to live and play. Key is to make it stretch as far as possible, and have a little leftover for later.
Top teaching tip: Use food as a pay proxy and from a young age. For example, with chocolate and money, you have to carefully decide how much and how quickly you consume, because it’s very sad when it’s gone. Especially when yours is gone before anyone else’s.
2. Plastic is not fantastic – unless it’s pre-loaded with cash
To a child, it can look like a real-life fairy tale to flash a card and magically take home anything you want. But a big credit card bill at the end of the month is positively evil.
Top teaching tip: Remember you are your child’s first experience of debt and spending so always model good credit card behaviour. Buy only what you set out to and explain there is either money saved onto the card or you will repay what you spend before it costs extra in interest (do you like the way I assume that’s the case?).
3. Tablets are not just for Angry Birds
How are your precious progeny to know when you are head down, brow-furrowed, that you’re not gaming but banking?
Top teaching tip: Always talk through what you are doing. And consider paying pocket money into a deposit account from an early age so children can watch both their game scores and bank balance tick up online. It might even encourage them to get competitive about interest rates.
4. Plan to not miss out
It’s crucial to think ahead to what you are going to want and need in any given pay period because, as we’ve established, money is finite.
Top teaching tip: The pocket money challenge. Give your kids the option to have $10 a week pocket money or $40 a month. They’ll presumably choose $40 a month and then spend it in a week, learning quickly – albeit painfully – to make money stretch. The ‘challenge’ for you is not to cave in and give them extra when they can’t go out at the end of the month (that could even pre-dispose them to debt dependency).
5. Children are viewed as ‘fair’ financial game
More than 50 consumer protection agencies around the world have now united in a fight against smartphone and tablet apps that mislead kids. They need to understand that companies prey on children’s psychology and competitiveness – to get to the next level… to advance more quickly… – to keep them spending money.
Top teaching tip: Micro-payments – on/in apps, games or music – can do maximum damage. Set any parental restrictions you can and keep a tally with your child of their spend. If they transact on the internet, also ensure they know sites need to be secure (with a ‘https’ prefix and a padlock in the bottom corner).
6. Waiting works wonders
Today’s money world takes our built-in instant gratification bent – you’ll recognise it in your child’s super-fun ‘I want, I want’ meltdowns – to a whole new level. An important learning is that alternative, delayed pay-offs can be far greater and even more satisfying.
Top teaching tip: Target a family goal like a big trip to California’s Disneyland. Then every time your child spies something shiny or yummy at the checkout, give them the option to buy it for them or save the equivalent for a splurge on Disneyland merchandise. Push actual coins or notes into a piggy bank or preferably deposit them in the bank, and keep an incentive chart of their ‘savings’ on the wall.
7. Stash cash from an early age
This one is really the key to comfort: tiny changes made early enough make a massive difference.
Top teaching tip: Drive home the dollar advantage of putting some money aside to keep your child focused. A dollar a day of pocket money saved from, say, age 10 becomes more than $60,000 by age 50 (at a return of 6 per cent). Better still, only $14,560 of that is from you; the rest is courtesy of the bank or investment. Imagine where you’d be today if someone had told you that…
Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnists for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter at @NicolePedMcK.
I know I can’t speak for every woman out there, but it’s pretty safe to say that most of us love to shop. For some reason, a new dress or handbag makes us feel as good as getting our nails done or trying some new lipstick. I guess you could say we like to try different things and reinvent ourselves.
It has always been like that, but recent studies have found that social media has changed our shopping habits and actually makes us buy even more and also shop more frequently. The reason? We don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice on Instagram and co.
It sounds extremely superficial and kind of ridiculous, but think about it: Have you honestly never changed an outfit because you remembered that your friends or family have already seen you in it?
Now replace friends or family with all the people that follow you on social media and you have a much larger group looking at you. So if you have a habit of documenting your life with the help of selfies and status updates, chances are you want to portray a glammed-up version of your life that includes a closet full of outfits you only wear once.
But it’s not just about the fear of re-wearing clothes; social media bombards us with pretty pictures of the hottest trends and must-haves every single day, which increases our need for new things and changes our shopping behavior. This is not just limited to fashion, but also applies to homewear, make up and food.
In a survey by British fashion retailer TK Maxx, 25 per cent of people admitted to being influenced by comments and likes they received on social media. Positive comments on a new outfit thereby reinforce our urge to buy more.
It’s quite remarkable how important social media has become in the past few years. It has gone from a means of communication to a crucial marketing tool for brands and individuals alike, but the fact that we tend to buy more because of social media is really just a new version of an old problem: we care too much about what other people think. Always have, always will.
Image via 604now.com