Financial Freedom 101 for Women

Empowering women to find financial freedom, balance, and the tools to create a real-life budget.
Erin Hoffman

Women still do not receive equal pay for equal work. The gap is roughly 20%, and women continue to live longer than men, now by an average of seven years. That one-two punch — lower earnings over a longer lifetime — makes it critical for women to become even more knowledgeable and confident about their finances. At some point in our lives, 80-90% of women will become solely responsible for their finances, mainly due to divorce or widowhood. Understanding your current financial situation, setting goals based on your values and having a solid understanding of what it will take to protect your family and assets is an important first step in achieving your goals.

It’s important to take a “financial snapshot” of where we are at any given moment in our lives, and to map out where we want to be in the future. I help women gain an understanding of basic financial concepts, how to get financially organized, and then empower them with the knowledge to make great decision, so they have the courage and understanding to move forward. 

In our busy lives, feeling financially balanced may seem like a pipe dream. Things like changing careers, education, and unexpected life events can be a challenge to manage, but taking these steps to organize and optimize our finances can make a big difference in how we feel and behave around our money. 

Write down and commit to your financial goals. Keep a notebook or make a vision board to bring those goals to life. Know your real-life budget and stick to it. This includes not just daily living expenses but also saving for an emergency fund, retirement planning, college planning, and life events. Develop wealth building strategies for now and the future. Paying yourself first is critical to financial balance, and we recommend saving between 15–20% of gross income. If that seems daunting, begin saving 1% and increase that over time. 

Review your protection strategy, including life, health, disability, long term care, and umbrella policies for you, your family, and your business. Consider whether the current coverage is optimal, or if there are gaps that need to be addressed. 

It is important to remember the old adage that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and improving our finances is a process that takes time. Stay positive and reward yourself for your wins no matter how small they seem. Taking the first step is the most important part of any journey.

Developing a budget may seem daunting, but we can show you how to be successful. Here are 5 budget tips to help you get on track:

Number 1: A real-life budget needs to give a realistic picture of where our income is going because understanding the money flow is going to put you in control. Take a look at your credit card statements, your checkbook, and write down cash expenditures 

Number 2: Start with fixed expenses like rent, mortgage, savings, and insurance payments. 

Number 3: Add in common monthly expenses like gas, groceries, and utility bills. 

Number 4: Remember to factor in expenditures such as vacations and medical expenses. Anything that we spend money on needs to be in the budget. 

Number 5: Compare expenditures to income and see if you are where you would like to be. If you aren’t, some changes may be in order. 

That’s it! Writing the budget down and committing to it is a pledge not just to your financial goals but to your overall wellness. 

Erin Hoffman is a Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Certified Financial Services LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. OSJ: 52 Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652, 201-843-7700. Erin Hoffman CA Insurance License #4029326. 2020-96286 Exp. 3/22 

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