EASY MONEY

How to take care of your future when you’ve got too much on your mind today

Women have a lot on their minds. We’re taking care of business at work and in our personal lives, and often we’re carrying the double burden of emotional work. If you have kids there’s even more to think about: swimming sign-ups, birthday presents, remembering where we put the vaccination cards. We have so much to think about that sometimes we don’t take the time to think about ourselves.

But we owe it to ourselves to take charge of our financial future. Canadian women make less than men (83 cent to their dollar) and we’ll likely live longer. We are less likely to invest and when we do, we invest lower amounts than men. These gaps don’t just add up, they actually compound over our lifetimes. We just have to get smarter about how we manage our money. Here are three easy ideas to help you get started.

Make it personal

Start by thinking about what’s most important to you. When it comes to investment we hear a lot about risks and returns and what’s happening in the market. Focusing on your own goals will help you cut out the noise and take action to achieve them.

What does money mean to you beyond rates and returns?  

  • Treating yourself: The ability to travel? More shoes?
  • Self-improvement: Money for self-care or a professional wardrobe to move ahead in your career? A second degree?
  • A place to call your own: Moving out on your own? Buying your first home?
  • A better life for your kids: More options for their education? Family adventures together?
  • Retirement: Financial independence later in life?

If it matters to you, it matters, period. And when it comes to your financial goals and what you want to get out of life, you’re the expert.

Trust your ability

Women are more educated than men (40% of women and 29% of men aged 24-35 have a bachelor’s degree or higher), and some research has actually shown that women are better investors. And yet, we’re still more likely to underrate our own financial knowledge.

When we analyzed Mylo user data to understand how women and men approach goals and investing, we found that women set lower financial goals and are less likely to say that they are knowledgeable about investing.

We’re also still delegating the job of investing to others. In fact, one study found that  61% of married millennial women leave investment decisions to their partners, which makes them even more likely to delegate than their married baby boomers counterparts.

What can you do to take charge of your finances?

  • If you have a partner, talk about your money, budget and goals. Ask questions so you can be involved and share responsibility for key decisions.
  • If you’re single, you don’t have to go it alone. Turn to your friends or roommates and help each other stay on track of your spending and saving.

Automate your savings

Yes, you can manage your finances, and it doesn’t have to take over your free time or even take up much brain power. With so many competing demands on our attention span and on our wallets, the good news is that there are tools that help you set it and forget it.

At Mylo, we automatically round up your purchases and invest the spare change. With roundups alone, you’ll save around $40 a month. That’s enough to make a difference over time, but not enough to feel like you’re missing the money.

If you’re ready to save more, we recommend you pay yourself first by automatically putting away 10-20% of your income. Just set up a weekly deposit in your Mylo account, and watch your investments grow.

However you decide to automate your savings, start saving and investing as soon as you can. The earlier you start, the longer your money will have to grow and compound over your lifetime.

Jennifer McDonald is Chief Operating Officer at Mylo. For over 20 years, she has used her expertise in banking, women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion to help over 1.2 million people access bank accounts, many for the first time. Jennifer has worked in 22 countries to develop banking products for women, from mobile savings accounts in Nigeria, Malawi, and Tanzania to loans for women-led businesses in Kenya. Ultimately, she believes that technology and innovation can help people save, invest and increase their financial security.