If you're looking to take charge of your finances, one way to help get yourself in the mindset and improve your financial literary is to read, and read some more.
Here are my top three takeaways from Kimberly Palmer's book, Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family:
(1) Be strategic and think beyond short-term savings. Personal finance advice for moms tends to focus on how to shop less, coupon harder, or find purchase discounts. "We get a rush from saving $5 at checkout while leaving [hundreds of dollars] on the table because we didn't sign up for a flex-spending account at work to pay for childcare expenses or we left our savings in an account with zero return. We have to break out of this restrictive couponing mind-set and think bigger--much bigger." Moms should "focus on the more significant financial strategies that can really build our family's wealth over time."
(2) It's time for women to embrace their inner investor. When it comes to investing, traditionally most women have handed those reins to their husbands. In a Fidelity study, "most women said they were more confident in the ability of their partners to manage retirement finances than their own. Husbands tended to agree." (?!#@?!?)
Women make financial decisions that affect their families on a daily basis and they make 85% of consumer purchases. Isn't it time women manage investments "with the same confidence we apply to paying bills or planning the week's meals"? Whether through choice, tragedy, or the simple fact that women outlive men, it's "imperative for women to embrace their inner investors now." It doesn't have to be either or; together, you and your partner can make better investment decisions. In fact, "women tend to be strong researchers and planners--both of which are assets when it comes to investing."
(3) Model financial behavior to your children, and talk about money. "In a 2014 T. Rowe Price survey of kids between 8-14 years old, 45% of boys considered themselves 'very or extremely smart about money' versus 38% of girls. The responsibility for addressing this gender difference rests squarely on parents' shoulders, with parents being more proactive and making sure they're talking to their sons and daughters about these kinds of issues." Kids whose parents discuss the family finances with them are more likely to feel smart about their money. "Our children are watching how we spend, save, invest, and give money. We can seek out opportunities to talk about money with our children, even if it's awkward at times or uncomfortable." Start by using "everyday experiences, like a trip to the grocery store or browsing options on Amazon, or calculating tips at restaurants, to talk about money."
"If you have a spouse or partner, think about what your kids observe about the way you manage money together. Is one person usually the one paying or handling bills or making financial decisions? I make sure that both my son and daughter see me paying for items at the store and picking up the bill at restaurants, even though it means I have to fight the urge to just let my husband always pick up the check."
What books are you reading to improve your financial literacy?
This picture from one of my clients made me so happy! (Love the pacifier accent too!)