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the “wild” 1960s. And in the 1970‘s a woman in Hong Kong still needed her husband’s approval to open a bank account. Even today research reveals that many women do not know how much their spouses are making.


The Financial Industry does not help. It does not rec- ognize that women want their money to support their own goals. Instead, it perpetuates the old perception that women are more interested in shopping than in understanding how money works.


It becomes clear that women need to jump over 2000 years of history and shake-off old, established beliefs and attitudes around women and money.


Every woman should know about the basics of money and how to invest it. She should be confident about establishing financial independence and start thinking about retirement planning. But most importantly, mon- ey should be seen as a means to fulfill one’s needs and preferences so as to have happiness and joy in one’s life.


A first step into financial independence and hence joy and happiness, is to take stock of your current situation by making a list of what you own (your as- sets), and what debts (liabilities) you have. It also includes a list (budget) of your income and your ex- penses.


Let us focus on budgeting:


Do you open your bank statements and look at them when you receive them? Do you know how much you pay in fees? Do you know how much debt you have? Do you know the interest rates on overdraft, leasing and mortgage? Are they fixed?


Beware of Credit Cards:


Do you know the interest rate you are paying on your credit cards? Do you only pay the minimum on credit card balances? Do you know that it will take 11 years and an additional $1,934 in interest to pay off a credit balance of $2,000 at an 18.5% annual interest rate, provided no new purchases are made and only mini- mum payment is tendered each month?


BUDGET TIP 1: Plastic Surgery: For a while start pay- ing with cash where possible. This gives you a clear picture of what money you are actually spending. And you see the impact immediately and not 6 weeks later, when your credit card statements arrives.


BUDGET TIP 2: Make a habit of getting receipts, even for small items. Or carry a very small note book/ elec- tronic device with you where you write down what you just spent on ice cream or what you gave to the street artist.


BUDGET TIP 3: Always, always, always pay your cred- it card bill in full when it is due. Use your credit card as a charge card.


The following is an example of a budget. I suggest to write down EVERY item every month for a period of 1 year. Thus you catch payments that are only due year- ly or every 6 months.


Income: Wages, Salary, Commissions, Bonuses Self-Employment Dividends, interest Pensions Income from Trusts, Estates, Insurances Rental income from property Other sources Total Income


Expenses: Mortgage / Rent payments


Housing expenses: rates, insurance, power, water, garbage collection, etc Food Children: Tuition and childcare Transportation (car payments, insurance, repairs, registration, petrol) Health: medical care expenses and health insur- ance payments


Clothing / personal items Credit card bills Income tax payments Other insurances


Entertainment: movies, music, ice cream Gifts and donations Gym membership/beauty treatments Others: Animals/Vet costs, Books and Magazine,


54 INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN MAGAZINE


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