There are 3 money fears that women have, especially in their 50’s that I hear about quite often. These fears pretty much revolve around the same subject – financial security.
- How can I save enough money
- How will I know when I can retire
- Will I ever be able to enjoy life
Becoming financially independent takes focus and dedication. Building real wealth can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating at times. Doubts pop in constantly. have I saved enough? am I too old to start? everyone else has done it right except for me. I will never have enough to retire.
So how can we avoid having these fears – or just reduce the stress and anxiety around dealing with our own money?
The most important place to start is deciding that financial security is what you truly want. So if you haven’t been taking this whole money thing seriously, now is the time.
Worry #1. How can I save more?
Easy answer, spend less. Stop overspending. Draw the line in the sand. No more debt. Pay it off. All of it. And stop using credit cards. I’m making this stat up but you spend something like double when you use a card instead of cash. Guess what that means, you spend more when you don’t use cash, because spending cash HURTS.
Budget. Not sexy, I know. But when you understand how much is coming in, how much is going out then you can adjust and make changes. If you don’t have any idea what is going on in your bank account then trust me, you are not on the most direct path to financial success.
Emergency Fund. Are you prepared? Because nothing derails saving and investing like a big old emergency that you haven’t prepared for. That’s when you whip out the credit cards to bail yourself out. Which keeps you in debt. Which keeps you from saving. That viscous cycle when you can never get ahead.
When you have even a small emergency fund set and ready for the eventual emergency you can react better. It isn’t a catastrophe. The emergency fund helps you not make everything a 5 alarm fire. Which helps diminish stress.
When you have that emergency fund, then eventually a fully funded 6 months of expenses set aside, emergencies just become a nuisance that you have the money to deal with.
Saving is then just a natural priority that comes easy because you are on solid financial footing.
And it all starts with getting on track and having a plan for your money.
Worry #2. How will I know when I have enough to retire.
This clearly deserves much more than one paragraph in the middle of a blog rant. This is a personal answer of course. What do you need to retire depends on you, your lifestyle and what you want your future to look like.
[But there is a formula that will be discussed in another post that will help you determine when you have enough.]
And when I use the word retire, I’m not talking about my grandfather retiring after 45 years at the same company, receiving a small pension and an engraved watch.
Retirement has taken on a whole new meaning. It could be 65, 75 or 35. It is more about being independent and having the financial resources to do what you want rather than what you have to.
I’m talking about someone my age, 53, moving to France because they want to, because they are financially independent and are now ready for that encore career, life on their terms doing what they want.
Figure out your expenses, know what you need to live on. Know what you need that big pie in the sky number to be so you don’t lose sleep at night.
Where does this opportunity to retire early (or retire at any age) come from? A solid financial foundation. Boom. That’s it right there.
Not overspending on designer handbags you don’t really need. Not trying to keep up with your friends and their oversized home, overstuffed with shit they don’t need or use. Not caring a flying fuck about what everyone else is up to. No way, this is about you and only you. Your future. Your solid financial foundation.
That friend of yours might be using debt to show off, who knows. She might have millions in the bank. We’ll never know the real story. But who cares. Be content with who you are, where you are, cut back on shit you don’t need and save your ass off. Done.
Trust me, I dealt with this a bunch. Friends, acquaintances at cookie swaps and school get togethers looking at me with a side glance because I wasn’t wearing the Phoenix mom ensemble, I dared not have the latest Lululemon leggings on or Tori Burch flip flops. So what ladies, my bank balance was piling up.
So in other words create that solid money foundation that you can thrive from.
Spend (because we all need to) but don’t overspend. Know always what is going on in your bank accounts and investments. Keep saving. Keep piling it up. Especially if you started late or haven’t started at all.
Get going, keep your eyes on the retirement prize.
Worry #3. Will I ever be able to enjoy life?
I love this. Just because you are going to pay attention to what is in your bank account and are going to pay down your debt and save like crazy, why does that equate blah, boring, or a bad time for some?
Being financially responsible is invigorating and freeing. And ALOT of fun!
You get to choose what your story is.
For me, it was a little bit of sacrifice while I paid down that pile of debt. As a family, we still went on vacation, we still lived. But we ate out a little less, the vacation wasn’t as long, we shopped a little less. But every last dollar of debt is gone, we save, we invest, we read about personal finance, we are interested in our future. We have a plan for our money.
And now, we are financially independent. Not careless and irresponsible like we were in the past. We have learned to respect our money and value what it can do for us.
Now I am having fun and enjoying my life more than ever before because I don’t have exaggerated debt payments, I owe no one anything. And that is so freeing. Such a happy, content, feeling of relief and gratitude.
I had these 3 fears for a very long time. Once I started on my path to financial security, the fears subsided.
The fear was an anchor and now I was set free.
Some of my favorite books by Jen Sincero that help you laugh a little and solve all these problems around money, mindset, and life.