Women are typically seen as natural communicators. But when it comes to money-talk, many of us are tongue-tied. Whether it’s asking for more, or talking about it with other people, money remains an uncomfortable topic for many of us.
Part of the problem is women’s lack of confidence when it comes to money savvy. Only 31.4% of women consider themselves to be “financially knowledgeable” compared to nearly half (43.2%) of men, according to data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Financial Capability Survey.
Bridging this gender gap begins with raising your voice and discussing finances when it matters most. Here are three conversations worth having with the most important people in your life.
Your significant other
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to the state of your household finances. For this reason, women need to be aware of their expenses, retirement savings, emergency savings, debt load, and household budget. This starts with sitting down with your significant other and doing a household inventory of your finances at least once a year.
Another topic of conversation: your credit identity. Joint accounts can be convenient for many couples. But if you’re not the primary holder on at least one credit card, it may be difficult for you to get approved for other types of loans. Protect yourself by talking openly about your credit history and your need for financial independence.
The average Canadian consumer owed $72,500 in debt at the end of September 2019 according to Equifax Canada. While debt consolidation can help ease this burden, savvy women are also demanding better pay. And for good reason: female employees aged 25 to 54 earned $0.87 for every dollar earned by men in 2018 (Statistics Canada). To get a raise, build a strong business case for why you deserve to earn more. Back up your request with hard numbers like performance metrics and sales figures. Walk in with a precise percentage salary increase in mind. And try rehearsing with a friend ahead of time to reduce nervousness. Only by having these difficult conversations about closing the wage gap can women work their way out of debt – and earn what they’re owed.
Your child or next-of-kin
For women with a family, life insurance offers precious peace of mind. In fact, the life expectancy for women is 84 years compared to just 79.9 years for men (Statistics Canada). At the same time, many women are the sole earners for their families. In both these instances, a life insurance policy can provide family members with financial protection, and ensure their financial needs are continually met in the event of one’s death. Although often an uncomfortable conversation, insurance-talk is critical to a family’s healthy financial future.
Opening up about your finances doesn’t have to be challenging. By having open and honest conversations with the most important people in your life, you can lay the foundation for a healthy – and independent – financial future.
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