Belinda White, Fierce Girl Finance
Yep, I know. Money stuff is hard.
There’s no silver bullet for earning, saving and investing it in a way that sets you up for success. It takes focus, work, luck and a bunch of hard lessons along the way. But what if you had some superpowers to help you? What if, just by being alive, you possessed some magical instincts that could help you nail your financial future?
Well the good news is: you do! Let me list them for you, decade by decade.
Your 20s superpower: time is on your side
Basically, anything good you do now with money, can come back to you in spades. And anything you mess up? You’ve got heaps of time to fix it.
This time is the start of your real earning years, but of course you’ll probably be earning nine-tenths of fuck-all. The good thing is, you have several decades to build on your savings, through the magic of compounding. For example, putting just an extra $20 a week into your superannuation from age 25 could deliver you an extra $60,000 by the time you retire at 67.1 Babe, that’s literally the same as one cocktail a week – you can totally do that!
Your kryptonite to watch out for: The YOLO mindset
The thing about being young is that all that retirement and responsibility seems like aaages away. And it is in some ways. It’s easy to go for the sugar-hit of buying stuff now, rather than thinking about the big things you need to save for, like a home or retirement.
The key is to aim for balance: don’t be a total ‘you only live once’ trainwreck and spend everything you earn. Enjoy some of the fruits of your hard work, for sure. But remember, this is the most powerful time of your life – where doing small things can pay off big time down the track.
Your 30s superpower: learning what you’re worth
If your 20s were about working out how to be an adult, then your 30s are all about putting that knowledge to good use.
Of course, this decade will see you and your peers all over the place in terms of milestones – some people have kids and chaos, others are still partying, and others are doing the grind at work. Some superwomen may have combined all three.
But what you are gaining imperceptibly is more confidence – about who you are an what you offer. This is the time to strategise your career choices, ask for the payrise, set up the ‘running away fund’ (just in case). Basically, your 30s are the time when you can look at yourself and say ‘fuck yeah, I deserve more’.
Your kryptonite to watch out for: the motherhood penalty
If you do have kids, there are lots of risks to your finances at this stage. Whether it’s taking a lower paid job, having time off work where you don’t pay super, being told flexibility is in lieu of a payrise – there are lots of ways the world punishes women for being mothers. Be aware of the traps and have a strategy to protect yourself. [maybe link to one of Trenna’s rants about this?]
Your 40s superpower – Deeper self-knowledge
OMG can I just give a shout-out to the fabulous forties? I’m now firmly in the middle of that decade and I love it. Ok, I’m a bit squishier than before, I have a few more wrinkles, but what makes up for that is knowing myself way better. I have a clearer vision of who and what I want in my life. And I am unapologetic about it.
Your 40s may also be your prime earning years – or at least the start of them. There is often a little more leeway in the budget – especially if expensive things like daycare are phasing out.
So, this is the time to set big, audacious goals for your future. Invest in good financial advice. Set a goal and timeline for being financially independent. Imagine a life without small kids or full-time work, then plot out how to get there. This is your time to shine – or at least, to start polishing up!
Your kryptonite to watch out for: expensive divorces
I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but damn, I have watched a lot of my peers’ relationships end in the past few years. Mid-life marriage breakdowns are A THING. I got in early (in my 30s), so have been ahead of the curve on expensive and emotionally draining divorce proceedings for a while now.
Managing the financial risks of a break-up is a whole other topic (and I have a series on it over here). The basic message is: always have your own money; get professional advice about where you stand; and don’t let guilt get in the way of protecting your financial interests.
But what about your 50s superpower?
I’m going to leave that to the inimitable Trenna, Super Fierce Founder, who has just crossed the threshold of that half-century.
Damn, that woman has some truth-bombs to spit – stay tuned for a future blog post straight from the fierce founder’s mouth!