Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Raising the financially independant female

I recently read an article regarding Disney Princesses and how exposure to these fictional characters can lower girl's body image in childhood.  As a mother whose 3.8 year old daughter spent most of the weekend dressed up as Rapunzel from Tangled, or Elsa from Frozen, I have some awareness of the impact that this can have in developing my daughters tastes in life.  As a Financial Planner, I have, anecdotally noticed this Disney effect with young, female clients, and, if truth be told, have even been a victim of this myself.
 
It seems to me, that there are a large proportion of young women who are waiting for "their Prince to come".  It may not be deliberate, but whereas young men are encouraged to be the proactive provider (aka The Prince), and take control of their finances at a young age, young women seem to hold off making important financial decisions until The Prince comes along.  For example, although young men will save and purchase their first home, organise their personal insurances and even start a regular investment plan, young women seem to be whiling away their time in their tower until The Prince can come and show them the way.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't for the superannuation carrot, I wouldn't see any single women in their 20s come through my door.  And we all know what a abysmal carrot superannuation is.
 
As a female, I find this stereotyping irritating, as a parent, I find it incredibly worrying, but as a financial planner, I am wracking my brain to think of a counter example.  And the best I can come up with is that they are few and far between.
I have women in networking groups, I have female friends, and even the daughters of existing clients who all fall into this category.  I talk ad nauseam about the importance of having goals and taking control of your financial future, and sometimes I even see a flicker of excitement about the idea of giving yourself options, but it very, very rarely seems to manifest in a young lady walking into our office.  This wasted financial potential upsets me.  Not in the quiet, reflective way.  In that outraged, angry and outspoken way that I do so well.
Money may not buy you your happily ever after, but it sure does help the world go round.  Having your own asset base does not make you less feminine.  You shouldn't wait until you are married to purchase your first home.  Creating options for your future self is not only a smart thing to do, but also an attractive thing to do.  It gives you confidence because, as a friend of mine once said to her own daughter, "life is your journey.  Some people are there for a long time, and some people are only there for a short time, but the only person taking your journey for the whole trip is you".
So, I urge all young, single women to stop waiting for The Prince or your Knight in Shining Armor, saddle up your own horse and ride into your own sunset.  If you're the parent of a young woman in their 20s, then rather than sending them on a cruise for their 21st, pay their consultation fee and let them use the money to invest (sorry, ladies).  Their future self with thank you.
By Erin Wright B.Int Bus Dip. FS(FP), Accredited Aged Care Specialist
Find Erin at Achieveit Financial Planning or call for an appointment on 07 4638 5011

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