What Every Single Woman Should Know About Money
Money is a feminist issue — and yet, women are still reluctant to talk about it. According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 Millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. Bustle's Get Money series gets real about what Millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your finances should feel empowering, not intimidating. Today's topic: opening a joint bank account with your partner.
Am I the only one who didn't learn enough about money growing up? I can't be, because a lot of my friends get uncomfortable even at the idea of talking about money. But it does us all a huge disservice, because so many of us are financially clueless— and don't even know where to start learning. And that can have a huge effect on our futures, not to mention our current living situation. We have to start figuring things out.
The good news? Is that whether you're making bank or still paying off student loans, single or in a relationship, there are ways to take your finances into your own hands. In fact, being single may actually put you in a better financial position. "While couples can split many costs, that doesn't put single women at a disadvantage. In fact, being single can be a huge advantage,” account Michael Eckstein tells Bustle. “When you're single, you never have to clear ideas with a second person and you never have to compromise. This makes decisions a lot simpler and allows for extra savings opportunities.”
Great news, right? But the independence of being single can also bring its own financial challenges. Here's what you every single woman should know, because independence feels incredible:
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If you're not used to saving, the idea of having to put away money every month can seem daunting — if not completely unrealistic. Where do you even begin? You need to sit down and make a plan. Think of retirement, emergency savings, any goals that you have coming up. To get you started some experts suggest that 20 percent of your income goes to paying off debt and/or saving. Which can seem like a big blow at first, but getting into the habit helps.
Maybe I should move back a step — because not only do you need to know how much to save, you need to know how to even go about saving in the first place. Knowing how to save may be obvious to some, but it certainly wasn't for me. IRA? 401k? A bag of nickels under my pillow? There are a lot of option for how to save, so be sure to look into what's right for you.
Being financially independent is so important — and keeping that financial independence is too. Too many women stay in relationships that aren't right for them or are even in abusive ones because they don't have the money to leave. Get yourself set up when you're single— and then keep that independence no matter what happens.
There's a lot of talk about communication generally, but talking about money is so often ignored. "When dating, we now have the ability to openly have the 'safe sex' conversation about former relationships, the last time each of you were tested and the results, and how to best stay protected and safe as you enter into becoming sexual," Emily Bouchard, who is a certified money coach, tells Bustle. "It’s essential and a given if you want to have a healthy, robust sex life going forward... tackle the last taboo subject that most couples are ill-equipped to handle effectively — the topic of money."
And it's not just about being in relationships. Being able to speak frankly about money in a new relationship is important, sure, but talking to your friends, parents, and even banks in an honest way can help you learn more about improving your financial situation.
We need to step up. According to a survey from Glamour, 57 percent of women have never asked for a raise. "In a society, and in a work culture, where people’s value is being measured by how much they’re being paid, it is just very important to have that measure of your worth be there. As women, we don’t get taken seriously until we get taken seriously financially," Cindy Gallop tells Bustle. "Very simply put, if you do not ask for a raise, and if you do not ask for the most money you can possibly make in your job, you will not be valued." Find out how to ask for a raise and get one, because you deserve it.
Money isn't something a lot of us are taught about — and it's a shame. I can still recite the quadratic formula, but I didn't know what an IRA was. It's time that women start taking the initiative and start learning.
Check out the “Get Money” stream in the Bustle App for more tips and tricks on how to save and spend your money.