Women like me — and you! — tend to nurture and care for those we love, even to the detriment of our own needs. We support our loved ones in many ways — emotionally, spiritually, academically, physically. Women are also often called on for financial support, and we find it hard to say no.
How are you burdened financially by your children, significant others, parents, relatives, friends and neighbors? How do you evaluate the validity of their requests and handle them well?
First, ask yourself:
Whom do you feel the need to help (financially and otherwise)? Kids, parents, husband, boyfriend, church, your business, friends, kids’ schools, worthy causes?
What are some ways you can say no that reduce hurt and disappointment?
How can you put aside your own guilt while avoiding blame?
What methods can you use to rationally and kindly explain your limits?
Women’s impulse to help others can reduce their own financial security. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women and Retirement, “Women are more likely to work in part-time jobs that don’t qualify for a retirement plan. And working women are more likely than men to interrupt their careers to take care of family members. Therefore, they work fewer years and contribute less toward their retirement, resulting in lower lifetime savings.”
So you save less and give more, which makes your midnight fears of becoming a bag lady more real.
Even today, with women making up nearly half of the workforce, women step easily into the role of caretaker. And caring for someone costs money as well as time. The typical woman loves her partner, her children, her parents, her partner’s parents, her extended family, her friends. Add to that all the lives (and financial requests) that nudge — or collide with — your own (neighbors, schools, worthy causes, natural disasters, homeless people, professional associations, friends of friends, musicians, artists, churches), and your wallet and drooping bank account will feel the pinch. The list really never ends, nor does your compassion for those affected.
It’s hard to say no. You need to say it every day, though, because you need to be financially stable yourself. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial well-being as “a state of being wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow enjoyment of life.”
So, how can you make the right choices to feel safe?
Prioritize. First, identify what you really care about. That means what you think matters, not what you’re told is important by society or family or friends or your church. If you care about making a child’s ballerina dream come true, and you can afford it, then le