In July I went to a seminar, “Women and Money”. It was really good. A great speaker who really made you think about your future and planning for it.
One of the things we did that night was to complete a form…..sort of a “to do” list. We had to list at least a couple of things that we wanted to do…..mine were:
1. Know what my retirement plans were.
2. Keep track of my expenses and create a budget.
Then write down a date that we would get these things done by. Mine was September 30th.
The form was put in a self addressed envelope and handed in at the end of night.
I had forgotten all about it……until that envelope arrived in the mail yesterday!
The speaker said that women often put everyone and everything else ahead of themselves. That natural “nurturing” thing that most women have can be an obstacle for them in attaining their own goals, big or small. I think that is very true and not something that we probably think too much about until someone points it out.
We often make plans and/or make lists (so true!) but don’t take action and follow through with most of them. Or we don’t put things on the list that are for just us, like getting a manicure, taking an art class, buying yourself some flowers, sitting down to read undisturbed for two hours…..things that you WANT to do, not things that you HAVE to do. We’re always too busy. Sometimes we need reminders or gentle nudges to get these things done. That’s what this envelope was all about.
All that said, this is something that is much easier to do, once you are on your own. There is only you, so you have to take charge, you have to set goals and you have to make decisions…..no one else I going to do it for you! Getting the “reminder” was good. It made me look at my list….my rather long list now….and pick out the things on it that were for ME and move them to the top. None of them were important things….but things that I hadn’t thought were priorities….like getting my hair cut!
I do know what my retirement plans are now and I did start my “expense” spreadsheet. Even though I had written September 30th down that night, I really hadn’t thought anymore about doing these things by that date after writing it down that night, so it was good to get the reminder and see that I had accomplished it….
This seminar wasn’t just geared to women who had just lost husbands, it was pretty general in that sense, but she did talk about learning to become independent and how important that is before something happens. Independent in the sense that you know what your finances are as a couple, discuss your investments, your insurance needs, know what expenses you have, debts etc. Surprisingly, even in this day and age, many women don’t do this and rely on either their partners or an investment manager to oversee everything. Often, if something does happen, they’re left in the dark…..and have no idea where to begin to sort through everything, or the worse case scenario is to find out they don’t have anything!
All good stuff to know! I was lucky in that WE did do all this together…we both knew what we had, what we would end up with, if something did happen. This was just one less thing that I had to worry about or deal with and I was very glad for that.