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By Renee Eagar, CFP®* 

As an advisor in a male-dominated world, I have a keen appreciation for the determination and fortitude shown by all the women who have decided to take charge of their personal finances.

Renee Eagar

The freedom and empowerment that you feel when you take the first steps toward determining your own future may be foreign to some readers. But to the many women who are determined to be the change agent in their own lives, I salute you.

I salute you for taking charge and not letting conformity force you into a role that for so long has seen us as passengers in our own lives. Earlier generations may have often sat in the background, but modern women are now more often corporate leaders with bold plans and impressive track records.

Look no further than the country’s richest woman, Magda Wierzycka, who made her own way by co-founding investment company Sygnia. Or former Absa CEO, Maria Ramos, or the JSE duo of Nicky Newton-King and Leila Fourie who have ensured that Africa’s largest bourse has been led by a woman for the past 9 years. What this says to me is that we no longer need to talk about women taking their rightful place, we’re already in that place.

Everyday heroes

I see this in the growing number of clients who are making their way up the corporate ladder. One of their primary concerns is to ensure they use this opportunity to plan properly for their future.

And they’re doing this not in isolation from their spouse or partner, but in tandem and in parallel. Why shouldn’t you have your own investment plan or rainy-day fund to supplement your family’s financial plan?

If you can at all afford it, try investing in yourself and your future simply out of principle: because you can, and because you wish to give yourself some extra comfort. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant gesture or plan. A few hundred rand a month dedicated to your own, personal financial goals will buy you the same sense of accomplishment as a few thousand rand.

Take nothing for granted

Whether you see the opportunity to save R500 a month, invest R2,000 a month or get that life cover you’ve been meaning to buy, know that good financial decisions today will be rewarded tomorrow.

Best of all, there’s a wealth of online tools, platforms and learning material you can use to get started and gain the confidence that you’re on the right path. And if you’re still not sure, ask an expert advisor to help you figure it out.

None of the successful women in business got to their positions by waiting on others to tell them what they could or could not do. You shouldn’t either: you can take charge of your financial future today.

You deserve your place at the table

Which could also mean taking charge of your family’s financial future. Most couples share the responsibility on family financial planning, while some are happy for the wife to take the lead on these decisions.

These couples are clearly comfortable with this because their partnership allows each to equally contribute knowledge and expertise. Which is a long way of saying that only you can take responsibility for your own financial future.

If you happen to be the one in the relationship with the head for numbers and are happy to take on the role, then don’t be shy to do it. Especially when it comes to the uncomfortable discussion about estates and Wills. You have just as much right as your partner to know what the estate plan contains and intends. If only so that you’re prepared for what’s to come.

After all, the future might not be absolutely clear, but it helps to eliminate the guesswork.

You too can eliminate doubt and guesswork by taking a more active role in your future. And you don’t have to do it alone. We have consultants and financial planners around the country who have been creating personalised plans for women who wish to be better prepared for the future.

If you make no other commitment this year, at the very least promise yourself to shed the shackles and participate more actively in your family’s financial future. Only you can make the decision to learn more and do more about your future.

Read more about investment planning.