Financial confidence: 5 tips to boost yours and save smart

New statistics show that 69% of female students worry about money negatively affecting their mental health compared to 59% of male students

 

 

Financial confidence may not be a term you use regularly, or even have heard before.

Ask yourself this – do you feel like you’ve heard as much about your money as you could be? Honestly?

If the answer to that was no, don’t worry: you’re far from alone. New statistics show that 69% of female students worry about money negatively affecting their mental health compared to 59% of male students. The report also found that the gap in financial confidence starts before young women make their higher education choices but that their monthly budgets are 10% less than those of men.

We’ve chatted with Vivi Friedgut, founder of fintech for education, Blackbullion, for her insight on why we need to rethink the financial wellbeing conversation for women, along with her great tips for boosting your financial confidence too. Keep reading.

Financial confidence: your step-by-step guide

What is financial confidence, in its most basic form?

According to the expert, financial confidence – a bit like financial well-being – is about taking control of your own financial situation and knowing that you have the ability to achieve the goals that are important to you.

“In its raw form, it knows that you can pay for anything you have to pay for,” he explains.

“Financial confidence gives you options – whether that’s leaving a relationship, supporting a cause you believe in or buying something for your kids. That’s that freedom.”

For women, it can be quite empowering, too, she shares. “There is so much guilt and anxiety associated with money and how we spend it. Financial confidence is knowing that you have control over your money, rather than your money controlling you,” she continues.

 

Why is financial confidence important?

Mental health and financial well-being are inextricably linked, or so shares the expert.

Case in point: their research found that 57% of female students regularly experience anxiety, compared to 30% of males, and 66% of female students found financial worries to be a regular stressor, compared to 43% of male students male

“This leads to potentially life-changing choices, such as leaving university altogether. Financial confidence can help cushion this and allow women to start taking back control,” she said.

So why is this so important now? Unfortunately, evidence suggests that women are the hardest hit by the pandemic’s fallout in terms of jobs, household responsibilities and money.

“With so many of us feeling like we’ve lost that sense of control, small steps toward financial confidence can help us take some of that power back,” says Friedgut.

Why do women suffer from financial insecurity more than men?

Financial well-being is not a women’s issue, but the data highlights the real implications on issues such as gender equality, ‘especially if we think about longer-term financial decisions such as investment, pension plans and savings,’ says Friedgut .

“Women also make a disproportionate number of decisions in families,” he continues. “Poor financial well-being keeps you trapped in a cycle of low levels of confidence which affects women’s life chances, opportunities and living standards, especially given our longer life expectancies.”

She emphasizes that we need to look at opening up a transparent conversation about money and withdraw the secrecy that hides financial matters.

“We see so many toxic behaviors like debt shaming and judgement, which in themselves prevent women from seeking help and financial education,” she shares.

De-stigmatizing financial matters is like breaking the last taboo. “If we can remove that shame and confusion, we give each other permission to open the conversation as well, which removes that sense of isolation. Imagine how freeing it would be to turn down an expensive invitation to a hen’s weekend because you want to put the money towards paying off your credit card debt?”

Think what Sex and the City done for sex, but for money – make it a brunch conversation and put the choice back in your hands

What changes could be made?

In short, a massive leveling up that needs to happen. “Issues such as equal pay, a complete re-imagining of childcare and the revision of pension ages have faced a major setback in the last fifteen months so they need to be brought back to the top of the agenda, given the economic downturn for women,” he stressed .

There is a lot the industry can do too. So much financial advertising is gender biased and there is a thread running through financial marketing that women can’t make brave choices with their money. “At the same time, there is a wider need for greater clarity and transparency around finance product messages, to make them inclusive and easy for everyone to understand,” he continues.

Finally, prioritizing financial education is also key. “Not as a PSE addition in year ten, but starting as young as possible and doing it consistently. We would argue that it should be included in the curriculum in a meaningful way. It starts here – money skills can be, and should be, available to everyone,” he adds.

5 good tips for boosting your financial confidence as a woman

There are a number of simple but powerful steps to take to increase your financial confidence, according to the expert.

1. Build your money skills

Connect with the many trusted resources out there, she recommends.

“From My Frugal Year, to Vestpod, to Rainchq, to ​​Go Fund Yourself – there are amazing free tips and tools out there to help you build your financial confidence,” he shares.

Many high street banks also offer money mentors to help you build a road map for your financial future.

2. Reclaim your financial identity

Aka, start distancing yourself from the ‘I’m rubbish with money’ persona.

“By taking small steps to own your financial life, you can take control of the stories you’ve been telling yourself,” she explains.

Top tip: A simple budgeting chart – balancing income and expenditure each month – is a great place to start.

3. Set a financial goal

Whether it’s reducing your credit card bill or starting an emergency fund, even saving £10 a month helps.

“Seeing your money skills and financial situation grow will be a huge confidence boost,” Friedgut shares.

4. Know your money’s worth

Think about the purpose of what you spend money on. Does it bring you closer to where you want to be?

“A monthly brunch with a friend who inspires you, who brings you connection and joy, could be a great way to spend £15, for example,” explains Friedgut. The Sunday night pep-you-up-impulse-buy is unlikely…

5. Take good care of your money

Finally, finance administration is something that women tend to avoid. Top tip here: don’t.

“As something unknown, it becomes unnecessarily harder than it is,” he explains. “Some basic steps include checking you are using your full ISA allowance and making sure you have adequate cover. Even taking fifteen minutes to move your credit card to a 0% provider can save the average consumer over £600 a year in interest,” he shares.

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