Staff Writer Elena Difiore
Financial Independence… It’s a term that can mean something different to each person you ask. For some people, it means being free from any and all forms of debt. For others, it means simply not relying on anyone but yourself to pay your bills. But no matter who you are or what your current financial situation may be, when it comes down to it, financial independence is about gaining the necessary knowledge and information to take control of your own financial future.
Achieving financial independence is just as important for women as it is for men. We no longer live in the days of cookie cutter houses and picket fences where husbands head off to work each morning to bring home the bacon. Today, we live in a society where women account for 46.8% of the total U.S. labor force and 51% of the high paying management, professional, and related occupations (US Dept. of labor). However, despite their increased presence and success in the world of business, many women would still rather leave the finances up to the man. To become truly independent, women cannot be content with just making their own money; they must also embrace the responsibility of taking charge of their personal finances.
Let’s face it. When we look towards the future, no one wants to consider the possible “worst case scenario,” or ponder all of the “what if’s” life may bring them, but we need to. Take marriage, for example. According to divorcerate.org, 50% of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. Despite these statistics, many women out there are probably still thinking, “That would never happen to me.” Well, the reality is that it can happen, so it’s important to take the proper preparations. By taking charge of your personal finances early on, you can protect yourself and your financial independence even in the face of such unfortunate circumstances.
One of the most important “what if’s” to consider is death. It’s no secret that women live longer than men. All jokes aside, there are a multitude of factors that put men at a higher risk of dying before their female counterparts. That being said, it’s important for women to understand not only the emotional impact such a tragedy can have on their lives, but the dramatic effects it can have on their financial stability, as well. Being financially independent allows you to confront life’s intimidating “what if’s” with confidence and say, “I hope that would never happen, but if it does happen, I’ll be prepared to handle it.”
When all is said and done, being a financially independent woman isn’t just about achieving economic security, but mental security, as well. With knowledge, comes power. The more you know and learn about controlling your personal finances the better equipped you’ll be to handle life’s ups and downs. After all…if you don’t look out for yourself, who will?