When women speak of their family finances, I inevitably ask the question, “Who takes care of the finances in your household?” I’m hoping they are familiar with the bills, how much is owed, how they are paid, and are abreast of the entirety. I am not looking for their dollar amount, I am merely hoping to heighten their awareness. Nothing is worse than floating in the sea of financial oblivion.
I’ve seen too many women end up holding the ‘bag’, the EMPTY bag, when something unfortunate or sudden happened to their spouse. They were clueless where to begin, or how to handle the monthly bills.
Do you pay bills online? Are you still paying them with paper checks? Do you have access to your bank accounts online? Have you and your partner figured out the income and how to budget the outgoing money? How much do you have to spend for eating out per month?
It’s not just the basics of monthly bills. Is there something written, that tells you where all your money is? Hopefully somewhere, you have knowledge of all the accounts you own. Where are your life insurance policies? Do you have Mutual Funds, Stocks? Do you have money in more than one bank?
What are your recurring monthly bills each month? Your rent or mortgage, your car payment, if any, what is the average of your utility bills? Then, how do you figure your flex spending, such as groceries, clothes budget? Do you have money that you set aside somewhere for oddity spending, such as a birthday present for someone, or unexpected car repair?
Money definitely doesn’t grow on trees. Yet, there are harvest times as well as droughts. You have to be prepared. Just because you have a good month where a little extra money comes in, doesn’t mean you have extra to spend. There are months where you will find you are shoving more cash out than you have prepared for. Saving for the inevitable rainy day is wise. Matter of fact, it is best to have enough money saved to cover you for three to six months in case an emergency- that could sustain you on zero income temporarily!
There are all kinds of books and classes out there to help you with your finances. The sooner you begin to understand wise finances within your household, the sooner that suppressed stress will be alleviated.
Whether you are a young family, a single person, or an empty nester, there are still things to think about that have to deal with your finances. Do you have enough money to sustain you when you retire? Are you on a path of savings that will get you close to where you wish to be by the time you reach sixty five years old? Do you envy those that are able to retire at an early age due to wise financial choices? The younger you make wisdom decisions, the sooner you are on the road to a happier future. No one really feels great at the age of mid fifties, that they are doomed to have to work another five, ten or even fifteen years.
No time like the present. Start now. Making wise choices, separating wants from the needs. We could all use a good dose of thinking twice before we buy. It’s good for the soul to want, and not have on occasion. If you save the money today, you’ll be thrilled you have the money tomorrow….and by the way…. KNOW what you are doing with the money you save. Get involved with your monthly bills. The sooner the better!