I was sitting under a tree at my holiday house recently, next to my older and wiser cousin Jenny. I asked her, kind of out of the blue, “Do you ever wonder if you’re doing enough to smash the patriarchy?”.
“No”, she said. “Never crosses my mind”.
However, she is a bad-arse woman who gets shit done all the time. She is a certified Fierce Girl-level budgeter. She empowers her 14-yo daughter every day. So Jenny is actually helping with the smashing-the-patriarchy job all the time, whether or not she thinks about it.
And we can all do that. We don’t need an International Women’s Day to be empowered, awesome, independent or feminist. We slay all day, erry day.
However, since we are allocated one day a year to step this up, I feel compelled to celebrate it. So, today, I give you some fiercely held beliefs that underpin the Fierce Girl Finance universe.
- You are way better at money than you think. Yep, you’re a financial guru in the making. Ever watched a make-up contouring tutorial on YouTube? Ever done the mental math on how many tops in your wardrobe go with the skirt you’re wearing in the change room? Ever done some sneaky calorie calculations to work out whether you should drink this glass of wine?
I thought so. Fact is, we are always learning, researching, calculating and rationalising in our everyday lives. And these are all the skills required to get in control of our money. Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) tell you that you’re ‘just not good with money’. Women are fucking great at it, when we give ourselves permission to be.
- Nobody cares about your money as much as you. Not your husband, boyfriend or father. Not your bank manager, fund manager or financial adviser. The best person to look out for your interests is YOU.
Educate yourself, go with your gut, ask difficult questions and generally be a pushy bitch when it comes to managing your money. The only person you can always rely on to have your interests at heart is yourself, so you may as well give yourself the education and knowledge to kick arse at finance.
- You have more hurdles to overcome, so you’d better ‘work bitch’. As with so many life events, Britney said it best. You’ better work, bitch, because as a woman, you start behind the 8-ball.
We get paid less, for complex reasons (including structural workforce issues and not asking enough). We have lots of time out of the workforce to care for kids and elderly parents. And we end up in lower-paid sectors that someone (maaaybe men) have decided are worth less.
Regardless of all the complex reasons, there is just one solution: work and save hard. We have to (as usual) do even more to get ahead. We need to add more to super early on, before we have kids. We have to take charge of our cashflow and budgets to make sure we save for the future. And we have to make sure we have money set aside for disasters (aka a Fuck-off fund).
So, for IWD2018 this year, I say what I say 364 other days of the year: money is power. If you take charge of it, you take charge of your life.
Please ladies: go forth and be fierce.