While it can be easy to stick our heads in the sand when it comes to our finances, as strong, independent women – who put up our own shelves and change our own tyres – we really should be in control of our cash flow, managing our own financial future.
Janelle Malone is a Dubai-based wealth commentator who talks about the power of the she-conomy and women’s finance issues on her blog (womenmoneyandstyle.com).
She says, “Money is a currency. Having money is not as important as the opportunities that it can provide us with, or the life experiences we can enjoy as a result of it. When you think of money as a currency for exchange, it becomes a lot easier to give and receive. But often that has a lot to do with your money personality.”
According to Janelle, there are five money personalities and most people can identify themselves as one, or a combination of several. Discover your money personality type and find out what financial advice Janelle gives you for the year ahead.
Ms Saver lives life frugally. Although not a Scrooge, she never spends without mulling over all of her purchasing options first. She’s an organised, calm, trustworthy person who finds value in an item regardless of its price tag. Others may consider her a skinflint, as she regards most items as overpriced.
She’d rather save for unforeseen circumstances should they pop up – an untimely illness or retrenchment. As an expat, she’s level headed and needs structure to feel secure.
Her primary needs come first – security in terms of home, health and school. She has responsibilities – children, and sending money back to family – and she’d rather save today to feel financially secure in the future. She is the most conservative money type: she invests in insurance.
Goal for 2013 For the sensible Ms Saver, I recommend an account purely in the name of fun. It needn’t be a hefty amount, just enough for her to enjoy the fruits of her labour – the occasional spa visit, or weekend away. Her conservative attitude means she’ll never spend beyond her means, making this ‘me fund’ a good investment in her own happiness.
She values pleasure above all else. Whether a hedonistic sun worshipper, or a retired businesswoman, Ms Luxe wants to experience the best life has to offer. Her spending habits are motivated by wanting to enjoy life, which may lead to last-minute plans and impromptu getaways.
Money is no object, as Ms Luxe believes money is fluid – here today, gone tomorrow. She doesn’t make any solid financial plans (investments or savings) although she might have an emergency nest egg. She may not have the most savings, but she knows how to make use of the money she has.
Her social skills and zest for life have helped her make friends around the world, helping to pave the way for her affordable travels. In other circumstances, Ms Luxe may be a high-flying businesswoman with work interests around the world and a desire to experience life in different countries.
Goal for 2013 While I wouldn’t recommend a complete change of lifestyle, I would advise an automatic savings facility, like for Ms Spender. Though saving might result in fewer trips short term, it will ensure a sound financial future.
Miss Giving is your typical Mother Theresa, always putting the needs of others above her own – both in life and in her finances. This selfless character enjoys nurturing and looking after others, even if it inconveniences her.
When it comes to money, Miss Giving is not too concerned about her own finances and tends to make financial decisions based on what she feels. This impulsive drive could come at a detriment to her personally as, without any forward planning in insurance and investments, she has no financial stability to lean on later in life. As a parent, Miss Giving places the needs of her children above her own, sacrificing her own pleasure for that of her offspring. Later in life, Miss Giving looks to make a contribution to society.
Goal for 2013 Miss Giving should start thinking of herself as an investment. She should be creative about thinking of low-cost experiences that she enjoys and investing in them.
The typical type-A go-getter, she is goal-orientated and single-minded in her pursuit of success; she relocated to the UAE to earn a higher, tax-free salary. This personality type combines characteristics of Ms Spender and Ms Saver.
She appreciates the finer things in life and is willing to pay for quality, but she also understands the importance of putting money away. She’s very good with money, albeit to a fault. She has a keen eye for finance and may come across as shrewd and calculating.
Being an expat, she values security above all else and invests wisely in insurance, offshore accounts and stocks. She’s also an opportunist, making the most of any and all business prospects that come her way. She often takes big calculated risks that promise to pay off in the future, and she’s not afraid of hard work and making risky investments as long as the end justifies the means.
Goal for 2013 While expert in handling her finances, this money personality would do well to make long-term investments that will pay off later in life. As she is known for taking advantage of every opportunity, I would recommend she enlists the help of a financial planner who will help her make the best decisions for her financial future.
To Ms Spender, money is no object. She gets a kick out of spending money and might even be a shopaholic. At the same time, Ms Spender does not value more expensive purchases above cheaper buys. For her, the thrill is in the hunt. Due to her impulsive nature, she is just as likely to spontaneously blow a fortune in the charity shop as she is in the department store.
She has difficulty differentiating between her needs and wants, and sees no problem in spending frivolously on items that will enhance her overall enjoyment. The Spender is a thrill seeker and doesn’t like to think about life in terms of money. She tends to be disorganised in her money matters, as finance is not her end goal. This personality type runs the risk of financial difficulty later on if she does not invest in any savings plans.
Goal for 2013 As money is such a fluid concept to Ms Spender, I would advise that she starts an automatic savings plan. She should look into a debit order facility, where a portion of her salary gets sent to a special savings, or investment, account every month. This will help her keep her spending in check and ensure that she stays financially solvent long after the sales have ended.
Your life in money
We ask wealth expert Janelle Malone for her advice on how to deal with the most common financial dilemmas women face in a lifetime
I’m getting married next year and, even though I would like to believe we will be able to cope financially, I feel like I should make preparations just in case we can’t.
Janelle says... “As in all parts of your relationship, communication is paramount. Firstly, ask yourself, ‘what are the core values by which I want to live?’ These may include things like spirituality, freedom, family, balance, health and peace of mind. People’s values and goals differ – they dictate
the type of person you want to be; goals refer to what you want to do. Once you know your own priorities, sit down and discuss them with your partner. Your husband-to-be may value financial security at the top of his list, while you
might place happiness and family at the top of yours. It is important to discuss these values, as they will directly affect your day-to-day finances. Agree to start a savings plan together to contribute to an investment account – a percentage of these savings might be used to finance an upcoming holiday or go towards your retirement savings.”
What age should I start saving a pension?
Janelle says... “Start investing into a pension account as young as you can. In fact, I would recommend doing this as soon as you start working. Many young people do not realise the value of investing long term. There is also the power of compound interest. Invest into a savings account and your money will grow exponentially over time. However, the same can be said for credit-card debt, so make sure you pay all of your debt back on time and in full.”
How much of my salary should I put into savings each month?
Janelle says... “The answer to this conundrum hinges on two ratios – how old you are and how much you have already saved. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend saving 10 per cent of your salary throughout your working life, meaning for 30 to 40 years, to ensure financial solvency in your later years. Save 20 per cent and you will be comfortable financially. For true financial independence, invest 30 per cent of your salary into savings. It’s worth taking the time to sit down with a financial planner to work out the exact numbers.”
My husband earns a good salary and pays it into a joint account, which I have access to. But I’m worried what would happen if he passes away. What questions do I need to ask him now in order to be in control if anything should happen?
Janelle says... “It’s really important to invest in an offshore bank account. In the event of something happening to your partner, this will give you access to money regardless of where you are in the world. In addition, these accounts are great for making your money grow. Secondly, make sure both your wills and testaments are translated into Arabic. Should the worst happen, it will make things much easier for your beneficiaries. Also, make sure you register all savings plans, wills and insurance policies in joint names.”
I am a full-time mother and housewife and, although I don’t go without anything, I’m conscious of the fact that I don’t have any of my own savings. Is it unreasonable to ask my husband for a ‘salary’ each month? If so, how much would be fair?
Janelle says... “That’s something you have to work through together in terms of what your household costs to run. One person’s idea of fair may give another person a heart attack! Instead, why not look for a part-time business you could set up that works with your limited hours – it doesn’t need to be the next Microsoft, just enough to bring in a small regular income. Check out online resources like www.odesk.com, or www.4hourworkweek.com, for inspiration.”