Despite all of the gains women are seeing in politics and social capital, women’s confidence in financial matters is actually decreasing, according to a new study by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America. More than half (57%) say they wish they were more confident in their financial decision-making. Confidence in financial matters doesn’t need to be a major undertaking. Spending just a little time and energy can help you gain control and significantly move the needle on financial confidence.
Burying your head in the sand and hoping for the best just isn’t going to work. It’s easier than ever to find free or affordable resources to educate yourself on financial matters. Yes, sometimes there is too much information and the sheer volume of it all makes you want bury your head in the sand again. Like learning anything new, starting at the beginning and taking baby steps is the way to move forward without feeling overwhelmed. Another option is to hire a professional. Money coaches can help you formulate a budget and get control of your debt situation. Financial advisers can help you understand longer-term investments, and a good one will take the time to teach you at your own pace.
Get Control of Your Debt
Finally getting out of debt is going to be the #1 action you can take to help you gain financial confidence. Debt is a burden that weighs you down and drains you of certainty for your future. You might even feel shame about your situation, and that absolutely does nothing for your confidence. You most likely won’t be able to pay off all of your debt in a short amount of time, but make a plan and stick to it. Ready for next-level financial confidence? Pay off your debt and continue to make those same “payments” to yourself.
Get a Handle on All of Your Accounts
It’s hard to feel confident that you are on the right track financially if you aren’t sure exactly what you have or where it is. It is incredibly difficult and time-consuming to keep track of, say, two checking accounts, a savings account, four old 401(k)s, a work credit card and three personal credit cards (love those points!!) The downside of account disorganization is many fold:
• You could be earning a higher interest rate by combining savings accounts.
• You may be duplicating holdings or owning counter-productive investments in multiple retirement accounts.
• You are most likely paying too much in fees!
• It is also very easy to lose track of smaller accounts, especially if you have moved.
Gather all your account statements (or logins) together and find out where you can consolidate. Knowing exactly what you possess and having a solid strategy will move the needle forward on financial confidence.
Find Out What You Actually Need to Save for Your Retirement
Are you stashing money in a 401(k) and crossing your fingers that it’s enough? Of course, you are not confident in your financial situation! Finding out what you actually need to be saving each month for retirement is the ultimate confidence-booster. You may not LIKE the answer, but knowing is the key In my experience as an adviser, clients are often shocked to find out that they are further behind than they thought, but they are more CONFIDENT when they do find out because now they can make a plan to catch up. You can’t accomplish a goal without knowing what it is. Meet with a professional and get a handle on your situation once and for all. Then bask in all of your newfound financial confidence!