In a previous blog post, I discussed several tips on starting your journey to becoming a Financially Free Female (F3). In this post, we’ll look at a few more action steps you can take to grow your monetary worth.

Face the Gender Investment Gap

Chances are great that you are already behind the financial 8 ball merely by being female. According to Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest Financial, not only do women face a gender pay gap, but they face a gender investment gap as well.

To become an F3, you’ll need to GIVE to your future by INVESTING in it financially. If you aren’t already making a retirement contribution, start to. If you already have a retirement plan set up, look for ways to increase your contributions.

A good strategy to use if you want to DOMINATE your financial future as an F3 is to INVEST any additional income you might receive, say from pay raises or from taking on a second job. Doing so helps you buy into the power of “compounding”, where you’ll earn even more financial return on the money invested. Over time, the financial gain you’ll see by investing that extra money will outweigh the pleasure you may have had by spending that raise.

As Albert Einstein put it: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it.”

For an in-depth look on knowing your worth, I recommend Sallie Krawcheck’s guide Mind the Gap – and Close It: The Ellevest Guide to Dominating Your Financial Future.

Detox from Credit Crack

I might describe credit crack as the all too easy and addictive buying power credit gives a woman. This type of crack addiction might start simply as with taking on student debt, but soon enough, the student gets a credit card. Then, when emergencies arise or when it’s a woman’s turn to pay the lunch bill, using credit becomes a way of life. Without a lot of discipline, she gets addicted to using credit to buy things.┬áBut as Senator Elizabeth Warren so aptly puts it, “Debt steals from your financial future”. If you’re to become an F3, you’ll need to give up credit crack. Here are a few rules to follow to help you break the cycle of credit addiction:

  • Track What You Are Spending on Credit: There are a host of digital tools available to assist you with tracking your credit spending, but a simple pen and paper can be just as effective. Simply document every time you swipe your credit card. The more society becomes cashless, the more vigilant you’ll need to be at questioning your purchases.
  • Review Your Spending: Control your spending; don’t let it control you. At the end of every week, review your spending, categorizing it so you understand where your money has gone. Ask yourself if there are any expenditures you could have handled differently. Are there any expenses you can eliminate in the future? Are there any categories you can trim by $30 to $40 per month?
  • Pay with Cash: For some women, physically seeing and touching their cold hard cash is enough for them to become more mindful of spending, helping them to reject impulse purchases. Developing a new relationship with money this way can help you detox from credit crack. Try using budgeted cash for your monthly expenses such as buying gas or groceries.
  • Pay Credit Bills Aggressively: Always pay more than the minimum amount owing on a credit card bill. Better yet, don’t make a purchase unless you know you’ll be able to cover it in full by months’ end.

If you’re to become financially free, easing off credit and expenses while increasing savings and investing is the way to do it.

In the next blog post, we’ll talk further about how you can change your relationship with money. In the meantime, keep learning and taking the suggested steps. In time, you’ll develop the confidence and level of financial comfort you crave so you too can become a F3 – Financially Free Female.

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