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Quite often, people depict single women as people without a care in the world, who spend all their time and resources partying and buying designer shoes and expensive jewellery without a thought for tomorrow. Nothing could be farther from the truth as a single woman can successfully take charge of her finances and ultimately her future. Being single is not an excuse for happy- go- lucky living; it is actually a time for you to build your capacity emotionally, intellectually and most importantly financially.
Here are a few things a single woman should be doing with her money right now.
1. TRACKING YOUR EXPENSES:
You need to keep track of how much you spend on a weekly or monthly basis. Don’t assume that because you don’t have any immediate dependants, you don’t have to watch how you spend money. Start putting your expenses into categories, like food, transportation and clothing. In addition, make a list of bills you have to pay on a regular basis, like, rent or mortgage payments, medical checkups, cable subscription, food for your pet etc. (You can use the Diamond Woman Personal Budget App to help you remember all of them.
2. CREATING AN EMERGENCY FUND:
An emergency fund is a store of cash that you can access quickly and easily in emergency situations. A good emergency fund savings usually ranges from three months to a year’s worth of living expenses, that is, the amount of money you need to survive each month. Although the primary purpose of an emergency fund is to help one through a period of unemployment, this amount can also be used to cover unexpected expenses. You must take care though to ensure that your emergency funds are not used for luxury or expensive holiday trips because if you use emergency funds for non-emergencies, then it will not be available for real emergencies!
3. SAVING FOR RETIREMENT:
Retirement does not just happen. If we live long enough we eventually get to a point where we cannot continue with paid employment or run a business effectively.
There was a time when companies included pension plans in their compensation packages and employees could look forward to receiving a percentage of their salaries to live on for the rest of their lives but this is no longer the norm. Instead, it’s up to the individual to create a comfortable retirement plan for herself. When planning for retirement your focus should be on the amount of money you will need each month after you retire which would allow you enjoy – at the barest minimum – the same level of comfort that you enjoyed while in active employment. You should factor in costs such as everyday living expenses, health care, and travelling plans. Don’t overlook the effects of inflation on your savings. You may need more than you think to achieve comfortable retirement.
4. INVESTING FOR TOMORROW:
Once you know how much to invest, you will need to decide how to allocate your money among stocks, bonds, and short-term reserves or even real estates. Stock funds historically have produced the highest long-term returns, but their prices also fluctuate more. The funds you choose should be suited to your risk tolerance level and the number of years you have till retirement.
5. DATING MR. RIGHT (HOPEFULLY WITH A FIRST NAME LIKE GENEROSITY!)
Single women on the dating scene may want to take precautions to not inadvertently invite financial disaster by dating the wrong guy. Make sure you don’t get stuck with a guy who is consistently borrowing money or asking you to go on expensive holidays. Look well before you leap especially before you co-sign on loans or credit cards. Joining financial lives is a huge step, so consider all the risks before committing to sharing financial responsibility with someone else.
Long gone are the days when single women were considered to be wasteful spenders. Women are becoming more and more comfortable in taking control of their own finances, determining their financial futures and turning their goals into realities. Making big financial decisions alone can be a bit daunting, but there are also a lot of upsides to it. You can enjoy complete control of your own financial situation, without someone else’s financial interests impacting your own. Whether you’re young and never married or newly single, it is never too late to grasp the reigns and take control of your financial destiny.
6. GET A MR. FIX-IT (AKA ‘OGA AT THE TOP’)
While you wait for Mr. G. Right to turn up get a Mr. Fix it in your life. Your Mr. Fix-it may be your Dad, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, Friend, ‘Boyfriend Elect’, ‘Ex-Boyfriend’ or ‘Boyfriend-on-Suspension’… whoever! Just get a man in your life that you can depend on to help you out when you have to deal with the gateman, driver, mechanic, generator man, plumber etc. Unfortunately it’s still a man’s world in certain quarters of Nigeria and it will save you a lot of time, money and frustration if you get a man to front for you when you have to deal with certain things “oga” should be taking care of.