When I first started Down-to-Earth Finance over 10 years ago, I heard the quote “I’m afraid of turning into a bag lady.” I had never heard anyone say that before and truly didn’t believe it. As I have since worked with thousands of women the last ten years, I have heard this fearful comment over and over in many different forms. As a result, when I read about this new study in the Huffington Post, I jumped at the chance to share and alleviate our fears as much as possible.
Nearly 50% of women fear they will end up destitute and as bag ladies, according to a study by Allianz and reported in the LA Times. While a significant percentage of single women felt this, 43% of married women felt this way too. When you realize that women earn more undergrad and graduate degrees than men, and have made remarkable economic gains the last few decades, it is hard to imagine.
On a positive note, 67% of women in the study agreed that having more financial knowledge has made their lives better! How do we increase our empowerment and get over the bag lady fear?
Let’s start by recognizing the fear. When you are reading this article and the study, do you relate or scoff and say it isn’t you? If this strikes a chord, it is a huge move to just acknowledge that this is something you fear.
The next step is to make small changes. They are manageable, bite size and easy to grasp. The logic behind small steps is that you easily see the change with your money and realize you can be in charge and not end up as a bag lady.
Suggestions for small changes:
- use cash only
- hire an independent financial planner to explain your statements
- track your spending via a tracking app
- setup automatic savings to an online savings account