I think we can all agree that your 20's are a pretty weird time in life.
Sure, your 20's can be described as beautiful, exhilarating, eye-opening time, but another adjective you could add to the equation would still be, “weird". To make things even more complicated, we're asked to take adulting to the next level by having to actually manage our money. For the majority of our lives, all money matters were handled for us and sometimes that's not a good thing.
Believe it or not, generational curses can be passed down through many different avenues, one of them being our finances. As a child, your first role models are your parents. Their ways are your ways and their thoughts are your thoughts. Parents and legal guardians have a responsibility of teaching us how to do many things…how to properly manage finances doesn't always make the cut, though.
I can't recall a time where saving, budgeting, investing, or the importance of great credit was ever talked about in my household. Not because my parents didn't want to talk about it…but because they simply did not know.
According to a 2014 Wells Fargo study, only 50% of millennial women have started saving for retirement versus 61% of millennial men.
Also, only 18% of millennial women feel satisfied with their savings level, compared with 58% of millennial men. We can do better, ladies! You see, it's pretty hard to teach what you don't know. So, I made it my mission to teach other #GIRLBOSSES how to live the financial life of their dreams. Thus, the Smart Women Finish Rich Seminar was born.
If simple conversations about saving and budgeting were never talked about in my household, I could only imagine that other women my age were never taught these basic fundamentals as well. In collaboration with my financial advisor and my credit repair specialist, we teamed up to help break the generational curse of finances within the millennial community.
On September 17th, I made it my mission to enlighten and empower a few women on what it takes to be a #GIRLBOSS living the financial life of her dreams. Mary Hayes (Investment Specialist and my Financial Advisor) kicked off the seminar by outlining the seven steps to living and (most importantly) finishing rich.
Here are four of the seven #MAJORKEYS that smart women who want to finish rich can take away from this seminar:
Learn To EARN
When is the last time you took a class, attended a seminar, or just read a new book on something that you were totally clueless about? According to Forbes, those who invest in their personal development are much more successful than those who don't. It's as simple as attending a webinar or even teaching a class. In addition to that, you must make sure that you're investing in you physical and mental health as well. Self-care is SO important and vital to your success. Take that class you've been procrastinating about or go on that retreat. Learn more to earn more!
Put Your Money Where Your Values Are
What are the intangibles in your life that don't carry a price tag? Is that making a difference in your community? Financial freedom and security? If you don't know what those values are just yet, make a list of what is important to you and why it's important! While you're at it, jot down those goals that you've wanted to accomplish for years (I enjoy vision boards) and make sure that they're ACHIEVABLE. How does one do that? Take action on your goals within 48 hours and be realistic with yourself about what challenges you'll face in pursuit of achieving those goals and how you'll overcome any challenges. Next, share these goals with someone you trust that can help keep you focused! #accountabilityonfleek
Build Your Retirement Basket
I'm declaring that I'll be retired by the time I'm 40. Yep, you read that right, 40! Through saving and investing, I'm determined to meet that goal and work only if I choose too. Now, let's talk about saving, any amount of money saved a month is awesome, but you should be saving at least 15% of your income every month! While we're on the subject, if you begin saving at least $4 a day at the age of 20, by the time you're 65, you would have saved one million dollars! (Just put your Starbucks money aside for a couple of days and watch how it piles up).
If you haven't started saving for that million-dollar nest egg yet, it's never too late to begin. Even if you begin by putting away $10 a day into an investment account at age 50, that will give you a hypothetical growth rate of 10% and you'll have more than $700,000 saved in 25 years. If you don't have the option of investment account (like a 401k) through your employer, you have an option of investing in a SEP IRA (for all of my entrepreneurs out there) or a tax deductible IRA or Roth IRA.
Always, always, ALWAYS make sure that you keep a “Money Airbag" that means at least 3-24 months worth of income for emergencies. Studies show that the average person is only four paychecks away from losing their home. Don't be that person!
Credit, Credit And More Credit
If you're not familiar with your credit score, you should be! Credit is borrowed money that allows you to purchase things and the likelihood that you will pay back those loans to purchase more things. In other words, your credit score is your adult report card. Credit scores range from 300-850. Four different factors make up you credit score: payment history, length of credit history, debt-to-credit ratio, new credit inquiries and diversity of credit. If you do not know your credit score, you can pull your FREE (yes, free!) credit report from mycreditreport.com. Some free credit check sites that I frequent are Credit Karma, Credit.com, and my personal favorite: creditscorecard.com.
Whether you're a pro with your finances or in the beginning stages, it's never too late to educate yourself on the importance of having your financial house in order to break the generational curse of bad finances and create a legacy through building wealth. With all of the resources out here, there's no excuse for repeating past mistakes.
Now, let's get this money #GIRLBOSS!
Danielle D. Hughes is a social entrepreneur, journalist and youth advocate. When she's not writing or covering news, you'll find her at church, spending time with loved ones, or enjoying a great read! Keep up with her: @danielledhughes or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published October 20, 2016