Thursday, 9 September 2010

8 tips for money smugness

Men are from Mars but sadly that doesn't make them all chocolate-flavoured.
Someone asked me again today about the differences between men and women. Money differences that is. It's not that women are worse than men with money. Just different. That's why we wrote Sheconomics in a female-friendly way. 
We know that women have different money emotions to men. That many women find money boring. Scary even. 
We try to cut through all this in Sheconomics. We even suggest that the high that comes from a good money workout is on a par with chocolate. Well nearly.

It's not about who's best, just about accepting differences.

I thought I'd repeat the 8 most common mistakes that women make with money. These are the ones that come up time and again in our Sheconomics research. 
Here are the mistakes and some advice about how to get over them - so you can feel smug about your money.

1. A misplaced sense of loyalty. 
Whether it’s a mortgage, bank account or mobile phone contract, women are often reluctant to switch. 
We say: Be loyal to your friends but as promiscuous as you like with financial providers. If they don't give good service, or good rates, it's OK to move on. You don't have to please them or be a loyal customer.

2. Fear of financial products. 
Liking tangible investments, such as property, over stocks and shares can mean women miss out on money-making opportunities.

We say: It's not rocket science. Don't put up with people who over-complicate products and hide behind jargon. Insist on plain-speaking and straightforward explanations.

Being money martyrs. Putting the needs of others first. Helping out the young ones when we should be providing for our own financial future. 
We say: OK, look after the children. But it doesn’t help anyone in the long run when women sacrifice their own needs for others. Develop a selfish streak.

4. Low self-belief. Not asking for money – pay rises/fee increases/better deals – often means women don’t get what they’re entitled to. 
We say: Don't wait for someone to notice how hard-working you are. Tell them. Then ask them to pay you what you're worth.

"Shoes? I popped out for a pint of milk."

5. Letting shopping become an emotional habit. OK, this is where women can out-do the men with a need for regular retail fixes. 
We say: Shop because you need the goods, not because you need the buzz. Find other non-materialistic ways of getting your kicks. Do something different.

6. Not managing career break finance. Women lose out because taking time out to have kids often means they make fewer NI or pension contributions.
We say:  A career-break needn’t mean a pension break. If your partner’s salary can cover two pensions, it’ll ease the strain in later life. Having a family is a joint responsibility.

"Where did you say you've hidden the savings again darling?"

7. Allowing others to make the big financial decisions. Women are great at day-to-day budgeting but can sometimes suffer from decision paralysis when it comes to bigger financial decisions. 
We say: Get involved in the decision-making and share the financial management. Why give someone else control over something as important as your finances?

8. Indulging in rescue fantasies. You know, the voice in your head that says "I'll just carry on like this, something will get sorted out."
We say: Don’t kid yourself. What if that someone doesn't come and save you? What if, when he does, he's got his own debts? Be a big girl and take control.
It's OK to look this smug if you're in control of your money.

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