There are good reasons why women should aim to be financially independent.
Not only are women expected to live an average of seven to 10 years longer than men, their retirement income is less than half that of men.
According to the United States-based National Center for Women and Retirement Research, the combination of lower salaries and spending less time in the workforce means that women have retirement benefits that are about a quarter those of men.
Other statistics show that almost 50 percent of women over the age of 50 are single — either through choice, divorce or death of a partner — and so are financially responsible for themselves and possibly a couple of children.
Basically, if you are not financially independent then there is a strong chance someone — whether it be a partner or the government – will at least in part be determining what you can and can not do.
Kim Kiyosaki — wife of Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad” — discovered early that she didn’t want to be told what she can and cannot do with her money.
Being part of the Rich Dad juggernaut, it is easy to think that Kiyosaki is in a pretty comfortable position to be telling other women how great it is not to have to rely on your partner or anyone else for the money to do what ever you want in life.
But Kiyosaki is quick to point out that in 1989 she (and Robert) were broke when she scraped together a few thousand dollars to invest in her first property. She has since built a multi million real estate empire and has achieved what she thinks all women need to do: generate more cash flow than expenses.
Since being rich will mean different things to different people, the cash flow position is a clear goal to aim for.
According to Kiyosaki, anyone can “get rich” as long as they are prepared to invest.
While it’s okay to work for yourself or someone else and save money, Kiyosaki says the real secret to doing what you want is to have someone or something else generating money for you.
Since the whole idea of investing can be overwhelming and intimidating for anyone who has never been done it, Kiyosaki suggests taking some small steps.
Getting some financial education is her first tip. Invest some time, then money. Read books and newspapers, attend seminars and get together with other women to learn about investment choices including the stock market, property or a business.
Kiyosaki says that as people are going through the learning process they should choose an investment option that suits them.
Some people go for stock options and others will seek to start their own small business.
“There are different ways you can make it but everybody today has to be an investor,” she says.
While Kiyosaki recognizes that not everyone is cut out to be a good investor, she says that women on the whole make “great” investors. Why? Because they are not afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ and are more willing to ask questions. That makes them open to learning and understanding the investment arena.
As for the rewards for women who take the time and effort to become successful investors, Kiyosaki lists greater self confidence, better relationships, less stress and more happiness.
So if you don’t like being told what to do — especially when it comes to your money, it might pay to start learning what to do about it.
- Bina Brown (for CNN)