There is a saying that most women are just one man away from destitution. It’s a terrible thought and we can all hope that we are never in that situation. But while we all can and should hope for the best in life, if you are smart you will also prepare for the worst. Here are five things that you can start doing today to ensure a secure future full of options and opportunities.
Further your education
While completing higher education boosts your earning potential by around 30%, it also increases your likelihood of being in work and marrying a higher earner. And education shouldn’t end with a degree. The job for life is a thing of the past, ongoing re-training is no longer an option. Keep your skills fresh and up-to-date. Women are massively under-represented in the burgeoning tech industries. With new technology comes skills to be mastered, and many online institutions offer courses in some of these speciality skills like basic coding.
Savings are freedom and security. Start as soon as you can to create an emergency or ‘freedom’ fund. You should aim for a minimum of 6 months living costs, which you can access reasonably quickly. If you get the savings bug then anything above that can be locked away at a higher rate of return. Your emergency fund means that you will have the freedom to say ‘no’ when you have to; whether it’s to a horrible job or boss, an abusive relationship or anything else. Savings put you in charge of your options. Start now, no matter how little you can afford to put away. Then watch the savings and your sense of freedom grow.
Create and maintain connections
At key times in life you’ll learn that who you know is as, if not more, important than what you know. Many of the incompetents who run things aren’t there for their talents! The connections you make could turn out to be your most valuable asset. That young researcher you patronised could turn out to be the boss of the organisation you want to work for in 10 years time.
It’s not rocket science; treat people at all levels with respect. Listen more than you talk. Look after your friends and business connections and stay in touch.
Social media, especially Linkedin for business, makes it so much easier to maintain loose connections these days. Make sure you supplement it with real life communications too. Making the effort will pay off, not just in terms of having support when you have employment difficulties or are looking to maybe change positions, but also in terms of the genuine friendships that we all need for a fulfilling life.
Get the right set of insurances
What is the worst that could happen? How would you and your family survive? If you are employed, check-out what insurances your employer has on your behalf. If you run your own business or are self-employed, what happens if you develop a critical illness? Could your business run without you? If you’re not sure, then talk to an insurance broker and review your options.
You may also want to check-out industry specialists, for example if you’re in the healthcare field there is disability insurance specific to the medical industry. Be sure to protect your financial future with insurance.
Set Financial Goals
Don’t leave your future security to chance. Without a plan, it won’t happen. So take a piece of paper out now and set yourself some goals. Start with an audit. What are your current monthly income and outgoings? List your debts and then your aspirations. (If you are weighed down with substantial debts then make an appointment with a debt adviser to start dealing with them.)
Set some clear timelines and specific goals against each timeline. Here is an example of what the goals may look like:
● Goals to achieve within six months: paying off the last of the credit card debt then paying the balance in full every month, setting up a ‘freedom’ savings account and making regular monthly payments.
● Goals to achieve within three years: achieving the goal of 6 months ‘freedom’ savings, setting up a personal pension account, paying off car loan.
● Goals to achieve within ten years: pay off the mortgage.
These five pieces of advice could make a huge difference. Starting today, you can take charge and shape your own future.