5 Money Tips for Women

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Continuing our series of stories for Women's History Month, we've got some money advice tailored for female figures.

As part of our Women’s History Month coverage, we’ve talked about the gender pay gap, myths about women and money, and how women face other challenges in the workplace. Today we’re adding to that by talking about money advice for women.

There’s a lot of sound advice available online and elsewhere that applies no matter who you are, but there are different circumstances and habits for men and women worth talking about.

For example, women have a harder time negotiating salary increases – men are four times more likely than women to negotiate. And women who do negotiate are treated differently than men, NPR recently found.

We talked to April Kossuth, a self-employed interior designer, about how a woman’s take on money and business. Watch the video below, then get more advice on the other side.

One of the reasons for Kossuth’s success is her emphasis on a do-it-yourself ethic. She says: “I’m a big believer in research. Research everything you can. It’s not always easy starting your own business and it can be intimidating, but there’s no reason it needs to be if you get all your intelligence together.” Here’s a few tips to get started researching…

  1. Know your worth. Kossuth says she started out charging clients too little, but realized she was better than she gave herself credit for. “I was appreciated for what I did and got good reviews from customers, so that made me believe in myself more,” she says. Women shouldn’t have to settle for less just because they’re women – research what you should be paid for your work on sites like Salary.com and PayScale.com and set your expectations accordingly. When you apply for a new job, don’t take an offer that isn’t fair. Wellesley College has a list of resources for negotiating pay.
  2. Insure yourself. It’s a fact of life that women live longer than men.  But if a woman breadwinner passes away and the husband has to raise the kids, life insurance could be crucial.  How much is enough? There are online calculators that can hel you determine how much you need, including this one from Bankrate.com.  Long-term care insurance is another consideration: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of people over 65 will need long-term care of some kind. As Stacy mentioned in the video above, women also make up 70 percent of nursing home patients. Check out 10 Tips to Find Long-Term Care Insurance.
  3. Invest well and early. One of the myths we recently busted in Shattering 5 Myths About Women and Money was that women aren’t as good at investing as men. Women have some qualities – like being more willing to ask for help, and being less likely to gamble – that make them better than some men.  Kossuth says, “I don’t love math and don’t want to sit and do it, but you can’t be afraid of money. You just have to do it and learn.” She says the best people to learn from are the ones you admire for their success. “Get good advice, ask them questions: How do I do it? What do I do? What do you think about this investment?” Whether it’s real estate or the stock market, women should make it a goal to save for retirement.
  4. Save where you can. Women are already good savers, and many recognize that deals have come a long way since the days of coupon-clipping.  According to TechCrunch, women are more likely than men to look for bargains online – for example, 77 percent of Groupon users are women.  To make the deal-finding process easier, use a tool like Google Reader to aggregate deal sites like RetailMeNot.com, SlickDeals.net, and FatWallet.com.  We also have a deals search engine on our deals page.
  5. Find a financial advisor. While there’s a lot to be said for learning things yourself, financial professionals are often useful for questions about investing, insurance, and retirement.  Kossuth says, “I found the right advisor after having one first that wasn’t. I’m not going to be talked down to. I want something explained to me in a way I can understand it and make an intelligent decision.” Check out How to Find a Financial Advisor.

Bottom line? The vast majority of financial wisdom applies equally to men and women. But where there are differences between the sexes, both men and women should recognize their potential weaknesses and capitalize on their individual strengths.

Stacy Johnson

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