Challenge for young women: Save $1,000+ a month for five years!

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  • Will it be shoes over substance? Will you be like Carrie Bradshaw, star of “Sex and the City”. Way too many of us spend way too much on shoes and bags, writes Martha. We love them. But these are treats to be used as small incentives, only if you significantly fund your safety net first.

    Will it be shoes over substance? Will you be like Carrie Bradshaw, star of “Sex and the City”. Way too many of us spend way too much on shoes and bags, writes Martha. We love them. But these are treats to be used as small incentives, only if you significantly fund your safety net first.


Part 2 of Young Women and Their Money. (Part 1 was featured on April 06, 2013 in the Royal Gazette.

Young women, Older women, Ancient women. This is the realistic picture of our lifespan from age thirty going forward. Thus, the answer to how much should you save or should have accumulated by age of thirty (30) is never easy, nor should it be passed off in the generic advisory phrase of three-six months of general living expenses.

This answer is predicated by asking another question — what do you want out of your life?

How will you pay for it?

What a drag for you! Do I really want you to think about 10- 20-40-60 years from now?

Yes, because you will still be around, and ladies, our men, as much as we love them (includes any current significant other, or in your future), won’t be.

We ladies continue to outlive men in ever increasing numbers.

Women today, including you must take care of yourself first. Set your goals and work your savings plan.

The basic life-needs classifications for our modern day world are: food, shelter, health, and career/relationships.

Yes, this means everything else are wants not necessities. Figure your basic life-need expenses on a monthly/ annual basis: rent/mortgage, food, security (internet, phone, computer, etc), transportation, utilities, insurance, and so on.

Credit card debt balances, unless balance paid in full every month, must be eliminated completely first.

You have a number now, great!

The amount that should be saved by age thirty.

We use two individual young lady categories.

The first is a Bermudian national resident with healthy, wealthy, or willing parents, that may be a recourse for emergency financial support.

We prefer not to put our relatives under such obligations, given that they will have already put their financial security at risk having, raising, educating and loving you.

Amount saved should be: at least one year, but preferably in this economic recession two years of living expenses.

The second is a young foreign national guest worker having no support system within Bermuda, and possibly minimal assistance that could be derived from elsewhere.

Amount saved should be: two three years of living expenses.

The calculation in real dollars.

You’ve done the maths above, so you have a number. Using the first example of our Bermudian professional, if it costs you $50,000 to live a moderate lifestyle for one year, then your cash savings goal needs to be $100,000.

Keep this cash liquid and protected.

This means no risky investments, including money market funds (which had losses in the last market crash, both here and abroad).

Subtract your net annual salary (say $70,000) from your annual basic living expense number. $20,000 is the amount you can potentially save every year at an estimated $1,650 per month for five years. Can you save more, or less?

Will you take the saving step?

Are you stunned at such a large amount?

You may reject the entire premise, which is perfectly understandable.

But, please consider these underlying facts.

We are living in an extraordinary time of unprecedented depressed economic conditions. Extraordinary measures are required to provide you with a substantial protective safety net.

What ifs. Always figure on the what-ifs.

Never, ever assume your job is safe, your investments in capital markets are safe, or that your health is perfect.

In global economic industry operations today, it is normal corporate financial planning occurrences to implement cost efficiencies (redundancies).

No matter your skills, experience or seniority, at any time — your job may be expendable.

Currently in Bermuda, thousands are unemployed.

Many individuals across the employment spectrum have been out of work more than two years, already.

Realistically and honestly, if you lost your job today, with little prospects for another in the short term, how long do you think you can last financially without a significant savings resource?

So, will it be shoes over substance? Will you be like Carrie Bradshaw (of Sex and the City and Manolo Blahnik shoe fame at an average $400 a pair).

In season Four (2001), Ms Bradshaw learns she must buy (or lose) her apartment home after a relationship break-up.

Her minuscule savings of about $1,500 is a pathetic disqualification for a bank loan.

Whining at her friend about the unfairness of her predicament, the friend remarks, “How many pair of shoes do you have?” Answers Carrie, “One hundred (100) pairs, I love them all — they are so important to me!” “Well”, to paraphrase her friend, “There is your condominium purchase right there ground underfoot — all $40,000 that you needed.”

This story is not figment of media imagination.

Way too many of us spend way too much on shoes and bags.

We love them.

But these are treats to be used as small incentives, only if you significantly fund your safety net first.

Or, Will it be Substance over style (shoes).

You want it, you plan for it, you get it. Shop thriftily.

Emphasise a minimal classic wardrobe — a judge in a courtroom does not care about your $5,000 Armani suit.

He / she wants to see expertise, skill, and legal knowledge focused on the current case.

This applies to all professional work environments.

Maximise your bank accounts.

Sooner than you know, your asset base can be used to purchase a permanent home. You will never feel as good when you know you are in control, and on the path to success and wealth.

The secret is to start saving, slowly, steadily, and consistently.

Ladies, life happens.

You want that independence?

Then take your personal financial plan all the way by protecting yourself from financial swings in your personal life, your career, and your country’s economy.

Your next step is to educate yourself about your investments (in your pension, for starters). Review the Financial Planning Flowchart (link Provided) for a snapshot on how the planning path progresses. Ignore the US tax comments for now.

Bloomberg Businessweek Markets & Finance The Financial Planning Flowchart By Nick Summers and Karen Weise on December 20, 2012

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-12-20/the-financial-planning-flowchart

Send comments, any and all to me, Ladies.

Last section — Part 3 will answer the question — what should a 30-year old young lady’s investment portfolio look like?

Announcement. In line with my constant focus and encouragement of readers to upgrade their financial literacy knowledge, The Bermuda Library where knowledge comes first is celebrating the first Smart Money Week from April 21-27, 2013. Watch for details!

Martha Harris Myron CPA PFS CFP (USA) JP is a Bermudian journalist and cross border financial planning specialist. Email her at martha.myron@gmail.com

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and not The Royal Gazette.

This article is intended for general educational purposes only and cannot be used for specific individual tax, investment, or retirement advice, nor can this article be relied upon for any personal financial planning purposes.

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Published Apr 13, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 12, 2013 at 5:46 pm)

Challenge for young women: Save $1,000+ a month for five years!

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