When it comes to financial planning for women, we face plenty of obstacles. From often earning less than our male counterparts (the gender pay gap), to being charged extra for certain goods and services (the pink tax), and being expected to spend more to look ‘workplace ready’.
Not only does the modern-day woman have a career, but she is also still in charge of running the household and taking care of the kids. In short, the growing pressure on women to ‘do it all’ has led to the emergence of the modern-day Wonder Woman. As a result, one of the biggest challenges women face is finding the time to prioritise money management.
The consequences of the mental load on women’s financial planning
The consequences of a woman’s load of responsibility are wide and far-reaching.
Not only are we slowing down the progress of gender equality through the behaviour we are modelling for our kids, but we are also doing ourselves a serious disservice. By failing to take an active role in our finances we risk putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position when things don’t go according to plan. Financial abuse, divorce, illness, job loss and death can all impact women’s wealth.
Financial helplessness can have serious flow-on effects. For starters, research has found a strong correlation between our finances and our health and wellbeing, particularly for women. Negative thoughts about money can lead us to feel sad, stressed and anxious. This can cause us to eat badly, exercise less and drink more alcohol, resulting in a lower overall satisfaction with life (not to mention the financial strain this can place on our finances, creating a vicious cycle).
Then there’s the concerning fact that having sacrificed their career to raise the children, a growing number of Australian women over the age of 55 are finding themselves broke, homeless and with no super.
Therefore, as a modern-day Wonder Woman, regardless of your age or relationship status, it’s never been more important to take control of your finances and create a better future for yourself and your family.
How to reduce your mental load
Here are four steps to reducing your mental load and carving out space for building a better life.
Step 1: Ask for help
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, women spend twice as much time as men on household chores and childcare and it’s about time we shift that by asking them to lend us a hand.
I can hear you saying, ‘But I shouldn’t have to ask – he should see how much I have on and offer to help.’
In my experience, if you give a man a task, most men will be more than happy to complete it for you. What they lack, though, is the intuition to jump in and say, ‘You seem to have a lot on your plate – what can I do to help?’ This is something women are particularly good at, as it is in our instincts to look after the needs of others.
So while men need to work on being more observant, and identifying when we need help, as women we need to work on overcoming our pride and asking for help.
Step 2: Let it go
If your partner already helps you out when you ask, that’s a great starting point. However, this still means you are carrying the burden of having to remember what needs doing. It’s time to absolve yourself of all responsibility related to the task, including the thinking and planning, and reducing your expectations. Remember, done is better than perfect.
Step 3: Change your mantra
I will be the first to admit that, as women, we can often be our own worst enemy. Let’s face it. Deep down, we take pride in the amount we manage to juggle and the way we do things. And when it comes to letting others help us, our first thought is often: ‘But it won’t be done right,’ or ‘By the time I tell you how to do it, I may as well have done it myself.’
Does this sound familiar? That used to be me.
Ask yourself: In the grand scheme of things, what is more important? That the house is always spotless? Or that you have time freed up to do more of what you enjoy? I’ll say it again: done is better than perfect.
Step 4: Outsource what you can
Thanks to the gig economy, these days it is possible to outsource just about everything. However, you may find yourself feeling guilty or lazy by getting someone else to do something you’re capable of doing, or you may think it’s an added expense you can’t afford. This isn’t the case, providing you are productive with how you use that time.
For example, if having less on your to-do list finally means you have time to start that side business and make some extra money, look after yourself better, or learn how to invest your money and grow your super, then I would argue that is time and money well spent in the long run and very smart financial planning for women!
WIN 1 of 3 copies of Wonder Woman’s Guide to Money by Natasha Janssens!
Want to win yourself a copy of Natasha’s brand new book, Wonder Woman’s Guide to Money?
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This is an edited extract from Wonder Woman’s Guide to Money by Natasha Janssens
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