Become A Force To Be Reckoned With
The next time you go to read your child or grandchild a story, think about the morals being imparted to them.
Obviously, some messages are good. Believe in yourself, work hard, and your rewards will come – that sort of thing.
But a lot of the messages we send – especially to girls – are very, very bad indeed.
Fairy Tales to Heroines
Many old school heroines – from Snow White to the Little Mermaid – spent their entire story getting into worse and worse trouble until a man comes to save them. This is a common story archetype, and while it’s charming and certainly entertaining, it doesn’t really reflect a message you want to send your young daughter in this day and age.
In fact, this kind of messaging can spell future financial disaster for women young and old.
Now, it’s true – for the most part, none of us got a very good education about money.
Some got a worse deal than others, though. No matter what was taught in economics class, most girls got an additional dose of misinformation.
See, from a very young age, most women were taught to stay dumb when it comes to money. They read these messages in fairy tales and see them portrayed in Disney movies and, later, in books, romantic comedies, and “How To Catch A Man” articles in magazines. The stories intimate that girls and women should be demure, wait for a strapping man to save them, let their husband make the decisions, and refrain from rocking the boat no matter how bad the situation gets.
Femininity may be a virtue, but completely turning over your power to someone else? That’s just immaturity and a lack of personal responsibility, and it’s a recipe for problems down the line.
It does seem like the tide is turning a bit. From smart money managers like Suze Orman to strong-willed go-getters like Queen Elsa in Frozen, this current generation of children has stronger, more independent female role models to look up to, and that’s a good thing…
But that hasn’t always been the case.
And millions of women are paying the price now.
A Force to Be Reckoned With
When I sat down with Kim Kiyosaki recently, she told me some shocking statistics. You may remember that Kim is the wife of author Robert Kiyosaki, but she was an investor and a force to be reckoned with before she ever met Robert. Nowadays, she has several of her own books and is an influencer in her own right, leading women everywhere to make their financial dreams a reality.
When the topic of women and money came up in our conversation, Kim told me this:
In the U.S, of the elderly living in poverty, 3 out of 4 of those people are women. Of those women, 80% were NOT poor when their husbands were alive. These statistics bear out among similar countries, too.
How crazy is this?
These women were well off and served their families well, but they were completely unaware about their financial situation. When their husbands passed away, these women have no jobs, no information on their accounts, and no idea what to do, so they wind up scrimping and saving just to have sustenance in their senior years. Not only is this terribly said, it’s also very difficult to recover financial in ones’ later years – it’s more or less the end of their entire way of life.
In order to combat this, Kim educates women on the importance of financial education in every phase of their lives.
She says in order to stop this old pattern from continuing, women in the workforce need to learn to ask for more. Women who stay at home need to insist on being involved in the family finances. They need to take charge in discussions even when it’s uncomfortable to talk about finances.
People of both genders in relationships need to learn to be more forthcoming about money – no hiding new purchases in the closet or fibbing about how much was spent on a night out with friends.
And even after starting a family, women need to stay in the workforce if they want to so they can be in charge of their own financial destinies. Studies show that this is good for women and good for the businesses, too – companies that feature women that are in exec positions regularly outperform similar companies without female leadership.
If you’re a woman and you’d like to learn more, or if you’ve got a female loved one in your life, Kim recommends the following course of action for a crash course in financial literacy:
Learn The Language Of Money
Everything’s just a Google search away these days. Learn the terminology of money and finance so you’re well-versed and ready to discuss anything you need to.
This doesn’t have to be hard or intimidating – simply pick which asset class is best for you and put some money in. Start small to begin with. Once you’re more comfortable, you can always add more and try new things. Just get started somewhere so you can learn as you go.
Don’t let your financial education stop when you’re done with your bank statement. Read what you can whenever you can. If you’re interested in real estate investing, pick up books on the subject. If the stock market is more your thing, read every article you come across. With every one you read, you add to a knowledge base that will serve you well your whole life long.
Surround Yourself With Like Minded People
When it comes to a foreign language, there’s no faster way to learn than through immersion. All the Spanish tapes and books in the world can’t compare to a few months in Spain, right? Financial education is the same. Find others who care and know how to “speak” this language – you’ll learn more than you ever thought possible this way.
Woman or man, you owe it to yourself to get educated so you can have a strong financial today and a prosperous tomorrow, so learn as much as you can, and then pass it on to the next generation – the right way.