Your Financial Future:
5 Money Mistakes Women Should Avoid
Here are some common mistakes that women make—and you can learn to avoid.
1. Not getting involved in managing the family’s finances.
It may not matter who writes the checks (or pays online) if you are making the financial decisions together. Make sure you know where your family’s money is: know where the retirement plans and other assets are located, and know what they are worth.
Learn to live below your means. If you don’t have cash to back up your credit card spending, don’t charge it unless it is an emergency. Avoid late fees that will lower your credit score. If you cannot make payments on time, call the company and explain why not. Sometimes they will be willing to waive the late fee and work out a payment schedule.
3. Spending money you don’t have on the kids and grandkids.
Put your savings first—resist giving gifts and money to your children, grandchildren or other family members. Make sure you budget so you have enough left to put into savings.
4. Spending your tax refund.
- Before you spend your tax refund, think about putting it in a savings account.
- Don’t pay for an instant refund—there are places where you can go to get the refund for free.
- Find a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteer. Many VITA sites offer free electronic filing to speed things up. You will be able to keep all of your tax refund and get it within two or three weeks.
5. Not realizing that you may end up living on your own someday.
Women live longer than men, and often marry older men. Half of all marriages end in divorce. It is a good idea to be prepared to manage your own finances.
One way to protect yourself is to make sure your name appears on all of your family accounts and investments, either solely or as a joint owner. This establishes your legal right to at least part of these assets if your partner becomes ill or incapacitated, or if your marriage ends.