WIL already hosted several workshops on the topic of financial literacy. In December we hosted a workshop with David Zetland which you can rewatch on our Opportunity Platform if you are a member of WIL. In this article, we will tell you what financial literacy actually means and why it is such an important tool for women. On top of that, we will give you some tips on how to improve your financial literacy.
What is Financial Literacy?
Generally speaking, financial literacy is the knowledge needed to make financially responsible decisions. Consequently, it means knowing how to avoid debts, how to properly use a credit card and how to save for your pension to avoid the risk of poverty in old age. What sounds kind of easy has become more and more of a difficult issue in the last years. This is due, on the one hand, to the increasing change in the financial environment (let’s just think about how cash payments have been the default and nowadays we purchase almost every little thing by card), and due to the fact that our generation needs to make an increasing number of financial decisions such as deciding in which pension plan to invest.
Why is this so important for women?
Of course, being financially literate is important for both men and women. However, looking at the statistics of poverty in old age it becomes clear why it is especially important for women to be or become financially literate. In fact, the risk of poverty in old age is especially high for women. And as hard as this sounds, we should all be aware of the fact that in Europe poverty in old age is more likely to occur when you are a woman than when you are a man. This phenomenon occurs due to various reasons. First of all, women earn noticeably less than men during their career which immensely impacts the later pension. Furthermore, the pension systems often follow the conservative path of the traditional family model in which the man has the role of the provider and the woman as a caregiver. As caregivers women are also more likely to interrupt their careers to look after the children and go back to part-time working. Last but not least, women in Europe statistically live five to eight years longer than men which implies that they have to live longer with less money than men do. Therefore, it is beyond important that our generation of young women starts early onwards to become financially literate and that we keep educating one another.
Tips to improve your financial literacy
If you want to improve your financial literacy, here are some tips from the workshop with David Zetland that could be useful for you:
Start early to secure your future, set goals and think about what kind of life you want to live when you are old.
Be frugal. When you spend less money, you are saving more, and you are at less financial risk and probably less stressed.
Pay off your credit card every month.
Reduce your expenses to save money for example by reducing the amount of eating out.
Think about the money that you are spending in terms of opportunity costs. If you spent the money on certain things it might reduce the opportunity to spend it on something else.
Familiarize yourself with the “Financial Independence, Retire Early” (FIRE) philosophy.
Do not impulse buy! Before you make a purchase, think about if you really need that item.
Before you invest money you should at least save up 6 months of salary. Of course, there are also different ways to invest depending on your means and degree of risk aversion. You should explore your options thoroughly and make sure you make the choices that seem most fit for your situation and consult someone with experience:
If you would like to read up or educate yourself more on the topic of financial literacy, here are some recommendations from us to you:
Clever Girls Finance from Bola Sokunbi
Erin Lowry’s three-piece on Broke Millennials, which include:
Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together
Broke Millennial Takes On Investing: A Beginner's Guide to Leveling Up Your Money
Broke Millennial Talks Money: Scripts, Stories, and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations
Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way by Tanja Hester
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Clever Girl Finance Blog: https://www.clevergirlfinance.com/blog/
Millennial Boss: https://millennialboss.com/
*We would like for this article to be a continuous collection of resources and will update it runningly. If you have any suggestions, please let us know in the comments
Written by Hanna Dittmar