Sometimes, we need to be patient. But sometimes, waiting is to our detriment.
In my line of work, I’ve seen my fair share of women having collected a steady amount of savings and waiting until they meet “the one” to use it. It’s not uncommon that I hear, “Well, I don’t want to buy an apartment now, what if I meet a guy who (insert reason not to buy an apartment).”
And I get it. There are all kinds of things we dream of! A little one to care for, adopting a rescue pet, a beach house, a world-class trip. And so often, we put them off until we feel settled, already successful, or have found the right person to pursue our dreams with.
This is my PSA for those beautiful, accomplished women (and good looking, successful guys) who are using singledom as an excuse to delay financial adulting.
Fear of the unknown shouldn’t hold you back. And in the case of your finances, waiting until the right time or for the right one could have a negative effect on your entire future. Don’t postpone your financial growth out of fear of intimidating guys (or girls) with your success or because you are paralyzed by what-if scenarios.
While you dream of finding your life partner, there’s no time like the present to get moving on realizing other dreams for your future, too. Here are two reasons not to wait before shoring up your financial future.
1. You will likely spend half of your adult life outside of marriage
We live in a time when the majority of women are living without a spouse for a variety of reasons. Delaying key financial decisions until you have a long-term romantic partner is setting yourself up for disappointment – not to mention putting your future at risk. You are operating on the assumption that conditions will somehow be better later, or that this person will know more than you when it comes to the area of money management.
According to a professor of history and family studies, Stephanie Coontz, Americans spend half of their adult life outside of marriage. If we spend half of our adult lives solo, then we will face many financial milestones we need to address on our own. This exposes a critical need to cultivate our individual money management skills for the time-being, preparing us for sound finances during a relationship and for many years into our future.
It’s wise to learn to navigate financial decisions while single, rather than relying on others to make the best decisions for us. And in so many ways, we’re expected to be financially savvy just by being a professional who pays their own bills. Employers expect us to assemble our own portfolios within workplace retirement plans. We are expected to choose between the different types of incentive stock compensation options regardless of our prior financial knowledge. We need to know how to borrow wisely so we don’t hurt our financial wellbeing.
These are all skills that, if we choose to embrace learning and becoming more financially savvy, can make a major impact on our lives. At the very least, being comfortable delegating to a financial expert who can partner with you throughout your journey.
And remember that women tend to outlive their male partners, so in the end it’s just going to be us girls. The sooner we start building our financial decision-making skills (so we can have a grand old time partying in the retirement home), the better.
2. Your idle cash is losing value every day
With inflation at ~2 percent, your cash needs to earn at least that just to maintain its value. Have you stockpiled cash for a home deposit, or other major purchase, yet are waiting to do anything with it?
Try to keep this in mind: Sitting on cash (beyond your emergency fund) is not a smart financial move. Your extra money needs to be working as hard as you!
One option to make a decision on is whether or not you’d like to be a homeowner or not. If you want to be a homeowner, go ahead and buy what you can afford right now. Get the right experts to help you make a sound buying decision for the kind of property you should buy, given your goals. As long as the fundamentals of the transaction are sound, this can be a good financial move for you– stabilizing your housing costs. And if you do need to move after you meet your life partner, this property can be sold or possibly turned into a rental that pays for itself or brings you income. In the meantime, you’ll have a place you can freely paint and decorate as you like. You’ve also gained the experience of making an important financial decision on your own.
If you have decided not to buy a home right now, then you should consider investing your extra cash so you can earn more than inflation. Your high-yield savings account earning 2 percent or less is not investing. While those accounts are great for emergency savings that you want to have accessible, your extra cash should be given a chance to earn a higher rate of return. The stock market holds many opportunities to beat inflation, and working with an expert can help set you on the right path.
Don’t wait to build wealth. Make sure your money is working hard instead of putting you at risk of not having enough as you age. Whatever resources and knowledge you accrue or acquire on your own will put you in a much better position for a partnership with someone else and ready to realize your dreams.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to be a substitute for specific financial, tax or legal advice. The article is for educational purposes only. Reproduction of this material is not permitted without written permission.