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Women’s History Month: Understanding our past and creating our future with money

When we talk about history, sometimes it seems like it was so long ago. That isn’t always the case. It wasn’t until recently that women were able to make large purchases alone, or even have a credit card. Today, women still deal with the lingering effects of laws created to stunt our financial growth. Let’s take a look at some of the ways women have historically been systemically hindered financially and how we can use the opportunities currently presented to us.

Hurdle #1: Women were not able to have a credit card until 1974.

Maximizing the opportunity: For many of us, we were told that having a credit card was dangerous. While there is some validity in being cautious about credit cards, responsibly using credit cards is a great way to build credit. Having solid credit not only qualifies us for low rates on loans, it can also be the determining factor in ensuring your independence. Think business loans and being able to obtain a mortgage. For these reasons, it is essential that you are using your credit cards wisely by paying them off every month and keeping the balances low.

Pro-tip: Find credit cards that give rewards or cash back for everyday spending. Pay off your credit cards every month to avoid paying interest, but still rack up the rewards. This way, you make the credit card companies pay you.

Hurdle # 2: In 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned

Maximizing the opportunity: Talk about salary. This is likely some of the most controversial information floating around the internet and in some cases could result in getting fired. However, understanding the appropriate pay scale for roles is essential to being able to negotiate your worth. Find trusted colleagues to compare notes with and make sure that no one is underpaid. Corporations would have us all believe that women are underpaid because we simply don’t ask but we can’t ask if we don’t know. Don’t be afraid to ask for more, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

Salary questions can be scary. Our community is a great resource for questions, advice, and motivation. You can join our community here.

Hurdle # 3: 69% of women say they were taught about investments, compared to 83% of men.

Maximizing the opportunity: The good news is that the information is out there. Investing is critical to financial independence. Saving money alone will not put you in a position to excel, you must also invest. So, educate yourself about investing. You don’t have to hire a financial advisor if you are comfortable doing it yourself. You can watch a video here about investing.
Pro-tip: Start now.

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Anna Paul, CFP® currently serves as Money Coach at Snowball Wealth, Inc. Before joining Snowball Wealth, she worked as a financial planner as well as a financial education project manager delivering financial education sessions to Fortune 500 companies. She specializes in helping individuals identify financial goals and take actionable steps towards achieving them. When she isn’t giving financial education presentations, she can be found hiking, couponing, or trying new recipes.

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