Why We Should Talk About Women’s Financial Empowerment Now More than Ever
This article was originally published June 16, 2018. In celebration of National Financial Literacy Month and our ongoing commitment to women’s financial empowerment, we thought we’d give it a refresh for 2021.
Millions of women worldwide took to the streets on January 21, 2017, one day after former President Trump’s inauguration. The Women’s March, now regarded as the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, was primarily aimed at the threat the Trump administration represented to hard-won reproductive, civil, and human rights.
The energy of the first Women’s March was contagious. I was thrilled to be a part of the sea of knitted pink hats and hand-made signs in San Francisco with clever slogans such as, “Tweet women with respect,” “Without Hermione, Harry Potter would have died in book 1,” and, “I’m a girl, what’s your superpower?”
In 2018, women marched again on the first anniversary of the original Women’s March. But this time, the marches were fueled by the anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements #MeToo and Time’s Up.
The Women’s March has since become an annual tradition, with protestors assembling every January in various parts of the world around critical issues. This year, which would have marked the fifth annual protest, the movement went virtual. Not even a pandemic could stop it.
A Big Step Towards Women’s Empowerment
These coordinated protests have elevated the global consciousness surrounding women’s obstacles to success, both personal and professional. Women desperately want to be empowered—not diminished—in the workplace and in their own lives.
The definition of empowerment is compelling: the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights. As a financial advisor who works with many women, my greatest satisfaction is watching a client go from feeling anxious and confused about her finances to clear and confident about her future. Taking responsibility and control of your money is a big step towards feeling empowered.
Taking Control of Your Financial Future
Recently I met with a young woman in her early 20s who wanted to get her finances on track. She started working full-time a couple of years ago and made enough money to know she needed to get educated and set up a savings plan.
We sat down for an hour and a half and quickly decided the first steps:
1. Increase her student loan payments,
2. Open a Roth account,
3. Boost her contribution to her 401(k) plan.
After she fully funded her emergency savings account, she planned to begin saving in a taxable account toward future goals, such as buying a home.
A few days later, she sent me an email and told me that she had completed the to-do list we put together before she left my office. This young woman is empowered, and her financial future is assuredly going to be bright.
Financial Empowerment is Available to Everyone
The people marching each January are diverse. For many, it’s a family affair—multi-generational mothers, daughters, and grandmothers channeling determination and commitment, with supportive husbands and male friends in tow. I tell my clients that financial empowerment is attainable at any age, especially with that same commitment and determination to become financially literate, independent, and secure.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
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