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How to Stop Being Financially Dependent: Personal Debt Help

Do you rely on your partner or spouse to make important money decisions in your household? Do you shy away from taking an active role in your own finances such as dealing with personal debt, putting money into your savings account or planning for the future? If so, you’re not alone. Women, more than men, lack confidence when it comes to everyday financial decisions. And women who don’t earn as much as their partners are more likely to feel this way.

What’s the biggest financial challenge for Canadian women?

For the most part, millennials and Gen Xers bear the brunt of personal debt loads, lack of affordability and lower financial readiness for major events. However, women of all ages have a harder time overall saving up major purchases, affording the costs of transportation and saving up for retirement.

This gender gap is even more pronounced as women age. Events such as divorce or the death of a partner can cause substantial financial hardship later in life. Additionally, in their childbearing years, women are most likely to take time off work to care for children or other family members, which causes them to miss out on a significant amount of time in the workforce, therefore, earning less than men.

How can women gain financial independence?

Do you pay attention to your financial habits? For instance, are you more likely to find excuses to spend or save? Your personality can determine your relationship with money, but you can always make changes and form healthier money habits. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this month, take a look at your finances and see where you can improve in order to gain control and strengthen your financial independence.

  1. Learn from past financial mistakes. Don’t let your financial mishaps define you. There is always time to turn your story around. Check out this blog post about how to stop making excuses and start taking action.
  2. Get involved. Opting out of your household’s financial decisions will keep you in a financially dependent position forever. Instead, take an active role in budgeting, planning for important milestones and saving for goals. Use our budgeting worksheet and then try out this financial goal calculator to get started.
  3. Don’t rely on your partner to keep you afloat. This doesn’t mean you can’t share the load – quite the opposite. Being a couple involves sharing financial duties and money goals. However, it’s ok to safeguard yourself against job loss, divorce or any other unexpected event that would leave you financially sunk. Check out finance blogger, Christine’s advice over at The Wallet Diet about how to start an emergency fund.
  4. Deal with debt now. Being a slave to your personal debt is a great way to stay stuck financially. Do yourself and your bank account a favour and deal with debt now so you can meet more money goals. Start by finding out which debt repayment option will keep you motivated. Check out this repayment options calculator. Or, if you’re committed to keeping yourself accountable, follow a DIY debt repayment method.
  5. Set some SMART money goals. You won’t be motivated to keep chipping away at your financial goals unless they’re achievable. Want to buy a home in the near future? Start a family? How will you get there? Don’t leave your goals to chance. Check out Kerry Taylor’s guide to setting SMART financial goals over at Squawkfox.

 

How will you safeguard your finances against economic factors or unexpected circumstances? Have you taken steps to reduce your personal debt? Share your journey with us by connecting on Twitter #LeaveDebtBehind #WomenAndMoney #FinancialEducation



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