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What Should I Know About FI As A Woman?

Updated: Apr 29

As a female financial planner, I know firsthand the wealth inequality we women still face, both in terms of how much money we earn and the positions of power we hold. This can make it hard for us to feel secure about our money and to be able to support ourselves independently. Just like when flight attendants tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, we need to prioritize our own financial health and security.

In honor of Women's Month in March, we'll outline several actionable steps below that women everywhere can take to make sure that they are in a good place with money today, and to prepare for confidently navigating their financial lives ongoing.

Take control of your finances and watch your dreams take flight. Women financial empowerment financial literacy and financial planning.

💠 Build A Strong Financial Foundation

  1. Cash Flow: Understand your current budget, to begin with, and working towards maintaining a healthy savings rate. The ideal savings rate is different for everyone depending on your goals and priorities, but a solid starting place is 15% of income.

  2. Emergency Fund: Always have a rainy day fund tucked away to protect yourself in case of emergency.

  3. Debt Management: Know your lines of credit, interest rates and current payoff timelines, then create an efficient debt pay down plan.

  4. Credit Health: Know your credit score. Pull your credit report at least once a year to check for errors/fraud, and work on steadily building your score over time. Credit health is a *slow* practice, so start now with intentional actions.

    1. You can pull your report for free once per year at There are many fraudulent sites out there so beware of other sites promoting free credit reports.

  5. Financial Literacy: Proactively seek accurate financial education to continue strengthening your financial foundation and support healthy long-term habits. Our blog can be one of these resources for you. Check out 5 Things To Improve Your Finances Today and this list of Financial Literacy Reads to get you started. Subscribe on our blog page to stay updated.

💠 Advocate Effectively

We know that women are subject to a persistent, steep gender pay gap across career fields, earning less than men for the same work. Women who work full-time in the U.S. are paid an average just 83.7% of what men earn, and the gap is even greater for women of color and women with disabilities. Until these disparities are recognized and addressed by those in power - particularly cis white men - it's essential that women everywhere assertively advocate for themselves and for other women.

  • Build a strong support network. Ask one or two women with experience and skills you admire to mentor you. Lean in to their expertise and ask all of those burning questions. Pay it forward, and actively educate, support and uplift other women.

  • Do your research. Know and show your worth, and negotiate every time.

  • Develop your skills (including your negotiation skills). You'll only get better at it and more comfortable with practice. Host mock negotiations with your mentor or another trusted person.

  • Speak up and be persistent. Inequities thrive on our silence, but we do have the power to change at least our micro environments when we work together to challenge the default systems. Actions such as requesting transparent pay policies, internal pay audits, and formal bias/mentorship training can create impactful change.

  • Request salary reviews and corrections. Did you know you can request salary corrections, especially when you have proof of outright salary inequities? Bring all of the supportive data and colleague testimonials you have access to and get the pay/title that you deserve.

💠 Plan for Retirement

Women typically live longer than men, which means they may need even more in retirement savings. Not to mention, it's the common expectation that women will be the caretakers for their children, spouses, parents or other ill family members, missing out on earning potential during their lives. Therefore it's especially crucial for women to start saving early and contribute regularly. There are a variety of tax advantaged retirement accounts; your employer likely sponsors a retirement plan such as a 401(k), 403(b), or similar, and additionally, anyone with earned income is eligible to open and contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Your advisor can help you choose the right account and ongoing savings amount for your needs.

💠 Invest

Women have historically been less likely to invest in the stock market than men, but recent studies are hinting that this is finally changing for the better. Investing can be one of the most powerful wealth building tools, and provides a key opportunity for hitting the milestones of financial freedom. Beyond the tax-advantaged retirement accounts listed above, there are further investment opportunities through avenues such as taxable brokerage accounts and real estate.

Note: it's important to remember that it's not always appropriate to be investing right now. Sometimes there are other needs and priorities in your life, and that's okay, we all have our seasons. Work with your advisor to gauge where you are today, and as appropriate, to create a balanced and sustainable investment strategy tailored to your unique situation and goals.

💠 Actively Work Towards Financial Independence

Financial independence means having enough savings, investments, and/or passive income to support yourself without relying on others. It gives you the ability to walk away from situations that do not serve you: toxic jobs, unsafe living situations, unhealthy romantic or family relationships. Similarly, it provides you with the flexibility to do what truly brings you joy.

I'd argue that the biggest investment you can make is the one in yourself, and reaching financial freedom effectively reclaims your power, buys yourself back your precious time, and allows you the freedom to live your life exactly how you choose.

In Summary,

Three cheers to the bright future where women everywhere are in control of their financial futures and are on track for financial independence. As your trusted financial advisor, I'm here to help you every step of the way.

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Have questions? Drop a comment on this post.

Need help building your holistic financial plan? Get in touch.

📌 Sage Financial Planning LLC helps younger professionals and first generation wealth builders know, feel and do better with their finances to get on track for their life goals and eventual financial freedom.

For more information on our holistic financial planning offerings, please visit our Service Options page.


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