Money Kuel Category Expert: Joy Alford-Brand
Well, here we are three months into our new normal and the roller coaster ride that is our economy shows no real signs of being over.
There really are so many things that I could write about right now. However, the most important thing to I want to highlight (beyond staying safe and healthy), is financial empowerment. I know that may sound like a vague and meaningless thing in these troubling times; but, it’s more important now than ever.
Financial Empowerment: What Does It Mean?
Let’s talk for a minute about what it means to be financially empowered and why it’s an important concept to understand. Financial empowerment means, first and foremost, that you are financially stable. You can pay your living expenses every month and save consistently for the future. It also means you are a vital part of your local community because you are spending money locally and helping to fuel the engine that runs your local economy. That is a great thing because a healthy economy benefits everyone, particularly at the community level.
Second, financial empowerment means that your voice can be heard on important social issues. If you think about it, people who are financially insecure don’t always have the luxury of taking a stand on issues that affect them directly because they are too busy putting food on the table and paying the rent. Having resources frees you up to spend time making a difference on issues you care about in your community, a powerful thing indeed.
Third, when you are financially empowered, it changes the way you make decisions. When you have savings and resources, you can take the time you need to shop around for the best price for a set of tires for your car, for example. I am using car tires to illustrate this point because I know too many single moms (my own, to name one), who looked at a flat tire as a possible financial disaster. Getting to the point of financial empowerment means you no longer have to choose between paying the rent or replacing a tire. That security, for you and your family, is financial empowerment.
Three Steps To Financial Empowerment
So, what does that mean for women who are over the age of 45? How do we become financially empowered in a world that seems like it is on fire everywhere? Believe it or not, even though it feels we are heading for a post-apocalyptic world, it is possible to become financially stable right now. There are things we can do to strengthen our economic situation.
“you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it”
- Start by getting organized. Sit down and run your credit reports (I discussed that in my June 2020 Kuel Life post if you want to read more about it). Get all of your bank and credit card statements together and figure out exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out. This is a critical step in becoming financially empowered because you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it. I’m not talking about making a budget here (even though you really should make a budget of some kind). I’m talking about simply knowing all of your numbers.
“you are a powerful woman who can do more than you think you can”
2. Next, identify the number one thing that is keeping you from financial stability. Is it an income shortfall? Do you have too much debt? Are your monthly expenses too high? Whatever it is, and it could be a combination of things, get clear about it. Try to look at it without emotion or fear. I know that may be hard to do but it’s easier to solve a problem when you aren’t scared to death of it.
Now is also a good time to remind you that you are a powerful woman who can do more than you think you can. We women are strong, resourceful, and capable of anything when we set our minds to it. Women, just like you, have been saving the day for eons, so know that you have the power to move mountains within you. All you have to do is believe you can do it and then take the first step.
3. Finally, make a plan to deal with it. If it is an income shortfall, try to think of ways you can adjust your expenses to compensate or earn extra cash. If you need a job, tap into your network and start asking if anyone is hiring; or, if there is a need you can fill. If your immediate financial issue is too much debt, it may be time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney to see if filing can help you become solvent again. There is no obligation to simply discuss your situation with an attorney and consultations are usually free. Find a qualified attorney near you and make an appointment as soon as you can.
Our Desired Goal
The goal of all this is to help you regain control of your financial situation, to find financial stability. To help with that, I have created a FREE Financial First Aid Kit that you can find in the Kuel Life Shop. This financial aid kit is intended to help people who are in an immediate financial crisis and need help figuring out how to get stable. Once you are stable, you will have achieved financial empowerment. You will have the security and peace of mind you need to respond to any situation free from worry or concern about what the future holds. Right now, I can’t think of a greater gift to give each and every one of you than shining a light on your path to financial empowerment.
About the Author:
Joy Alford-Brand is an author, public speaker and attorney. She graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in History from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in 1994 and she received her Juris Doctor from Ohio State University College of Law in 1998. Her main area of practice is Bankruptcy. She is admitted in North Carolina where she lives and works. Joy founded newcashview.com in 2015 as a platform through which she could help others work toward financial freedom and peace of mind! For more information, check out newcashview.com.