Okay people, it was International Women’s Day this week. We male financial bloggers aren’t known for our social skills around women, so I decided to try something a little different and let them do the talking this week.
Last week, I asked my female readers to share their biggest challenges about money. I picked two stories that really stood out to win one free ticket each to The Future Is Female women-only conference on 8 Apr.
So congrats to “Y.” and Linda H. for submitting the two winning entries! (cue confetti, party horns, and a cycling bear). I thought their stories were too inspiring to stay in my inbox, so I’m sharing them here (edited for brevity) with their permission.
Y’s Story: Paying Rent Ain’t Stopping Her From Saving
When I was 20, I didn’t save a single cent because all I wanted was to have FUN. However, my family decided to move out of Singapore 6 months ago, which meant that I couldn’t latch onto my parents to provide me with housing and free electricity/water. I intended to pursue my degree that year, but I had to put it off since I had to look for a place and had a huge financial responsibility on me.
The switch was definitely not easy but I was forced to deliberately make better financial choices. While I had to give up a part of my shopping expenses for rental and be more prudent in my spending, surprisingly enough, I was saving at least nearly half of my take home pay!
I made informed choices before swiping away my cards and made sure I wrote down what I was spending on each day. With the tips I took from your posts How To Be Awesome At Saving and The Automatic Money Jar System, I managed to save nearly 10k in less than a year. It gave me more motivation and most recently, I even started my own sideline business to supplement my savings! It isn’t much compared to people of my age but I’m proud of myself for taking the step out my comfort zone.
Many of my peers pitied me for having to pay for rent at a young age. However, while others may see it as a burden, I saw it as a blessing in disguise. Without the weight on my shoulders, I probably would have continued to burn my hard-earned money on materialistic things!
Lionel’s thoughts: It’s super interesting how financial setbacks can lead us to 2 outcomes: We can give up and blame “the government”, or we can use it as a wake-up call and take just that one small step to improving our finances. Saving half your income is entirely within your control, as is starting a sideline business. What excuses are you giving yourself?
Linda’s Story: What If Your Spouse Has A Different Money Attitude?
One of the biggest challenges I face is having a partner with a different attitude towards money. We have completely opposite characters and personalities – which translates into how money is saved, spent and invested. He is more of a YOLO kinda guy, and I was a little too tight-fisted about money.
After we got married, even though it was really hard at first, we both realised that we have to make things work. It involved a listening ear and a lot of compromise for us to move as “one” in the same direction. So he started to pass me some of his take-home pay every month for me to purchase ETFs, and I started to see that life is not worth living without some restaurant meals and using money to bless others.
Things get heated up when I forget to be generous and when he makes a big (useless to me) purchase. But oh well…. give and take. Fight, talk about it, move on. It isn’t a battle about proving who’s right but working things out for both of our benefit.
Lionel’s thoughts: We often forget about how money can deeply affect our relationships with the people we love the most. (This was also the topic of the Money & Love workshop that I spoke at recently) But I love how Linda and her spouse were brutally honest with each other about money, realised that they “had to make things work”, and took steps to move in the same direction.