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The biggest obstacle that women face in achieving their financial goals is lack of money. According to a recent GOBankingRates survey of 1,003 women across the United States, more than 36% of women surveyed said a lack of income prevented them from achieving their financial goals. Among women’s top financial goals are saving for retirement (29%), saving for a home (16%) and covering basic expenses (16%).
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It will take more than a stampede or sell clothes and personal effects in e-commerce marketplaces for women to increase their overall income. GOBankingRates spoke with Pam Krueger, CEO and Founder of Wealthramp, a fiduciary advisor matchmaking platform, to learn about the top six steps women can take to increase their wealth.
Discover all the opportunities you have at work
In 2021, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) reported that 2.6 million women were absent from the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit women harder than men financially, but women are finding ways to reinvent themselves.
Krueger said you can work to become more self-sufficient by educating yourself about all the opportunities you have at work. What types of new roles are available in your organization? Are there any new benefits offered by your employer that are worth real money? Look at the.
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The annual gender pay gap is currently at $10,435, so now is not the time to wait for a raise or a new opportunity to come your way. Krueger said to take the reins and be in a proactive mindset.
If you’re looking for a raise, create a list of your outstanding accomplishments and their return on investment in the company. Gather credible salary data for your role and location as part of due diligence for negotiations. Consider other benefits you may receive, such as an education allowance, to better support your lifestyle. If you don’t see certain perks offered that could give you a financial boost, ask for it or suggest it.
Enjoy valuable business benefits
This includes your HSA, FSA, and a full 401(k) match if your company offers these benefits.
“You can also consider working longer, deferring Social Security benefits, maximizing retirement accounts and using long-term care,” Krueger said.
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Don’t neglect your 401(k)
Your 401(k) is there to help you invest smarter using cost averaging, one of the most proven investment strategies. “When you consistently contribute from every paycheck to your 401(k) at work, you automatically buy stocks sometimes when stock prices are lower and other times when prices are higher,” said Krueger.
This means that instead of playing a guessing game about when to buy in the market, the dollar buy average smooths out the ups and downs. “Over time, you end up buying stocks at an ‘average’ price and so you reduce your risk of always buying at the top of the market,” Krueger said.
Take control of your financial life
It’s time to take full control of every aspect of your financial life. This is especially true for any married or married women who have been the only ones to sit back and not commit to their finances.
Not committing to your finances is costing you more than you realize. Krueger said that as you take control of your financial life, make sure you understand the following areas.
- Any debt you carry
- Your credit score
- How much do you have in emergency savings
- Your financial philosophy and approach to spending, saving and investing
- Your ability to negotiate and ask for what you want
“All of that confidence comes from within when you know your finances,” Krueger said.
Related: Warning Signs You’re In A Financially Abusive Relationship
Consider using a fiduciary financial advisor
Seeing a fiduciary financial advisor for help means spending money, but Krueger said getting that advice more than pays off in the long run. A qualified fiduciary financial advisor will be able to perform a cash flow analysis based on your personal circumstances and audit your investments, including a 401(k), to ensure you are not paying too much in fees. From there, this advisor will make recommendations.
If you’re considering working with an advisor, Krueger recommends taking your time finding the right person. Don’t rush into selecting an advisor or choose someone with questionable credentials in hopes of cutting corners to make more money.
Interview them carefully and make sure they are really looking out for your best interests. A lack of income can be a significant financial hurdle, but receiving bad financial advice can derail your financial future and even cause you to lose money.
“To strengthen your finances and your sense of financial security, start by educating yourself, then create new wealth-building habits and make smart financial decisions,” Krueger said. “Knowledge is power when it comes to money.”
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