5 Ways To Be Financially Independent

financial independence
Love, Self

A new study says if you have financial fears of the future, you are not alone.

In 2007, I worked with a life coaching client in her 40s who was single, estranged from her birth family, and self-employed as a writer and new media consultant. She was self-sustaining but also frustrated that she wasn't meeting any men with life partner potential. When she admitted to me that she was deeply worried about becoming a "bag lady," I thought she might be exaggerating. Now, I'm not so sure. It's become frighteningly clear since then how quickly anyone's finances and life conditions can change.

In this recession, it's no wonder that financial insecurity makes it hard for us to sleep well at night. A study from life insurance company Allianz reflects this fear. Nearly half of the women surveyed admitted they fear becoming homeless, whether or not they are in a relationship and/or earn significant incomes. As for the women who do earn a healthy income, they fear it will be harder for them to find a life partner than women who earn less (maybe because men are intimidated by powerful, driven females).

Ironically, these statistics have changed little from Allianz's last survey (their "Women, Money & Power" survey) in which 90 percent of women felt financially insecure — even those who earned more than $100,000 annually. Despite being their families' primary breadwinners, it's not uncommon for women to imagine themselves on the streets with their worldly goods stuffed into shopping carts or wheeled suitcases. So how can we quell those fears? Having financial independence is a good place to start. Here are my five top tips for you to take charge of your own finances, without having to rely on a significant other.

1. Stop waiting for Prince Charming to arrive. Become your own "knight in shining armor" by learning survival tools like car maintenance, minor plumbing or household repairs and extreme weather preparedness in addition to basic sewing, cooking and gardening skills. If you can manage these primary areas of modern life, you'll not only be attractive to a life partner who appreciates independent women, but you'll be self-sufficient whether you're in a couple or not. You'll also save money when you can effectively make basic repairs yourself instead of having to hire a handyman.

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2. Create that "secret stash" of cash. Even if you're in a long-term marriage, you deserve to have some money that's just yours. Then, you can use it however you want — for fun or education or as a cushion for the future. My husband and I have always kept our bank accounts separate and I also have a secret stash anyway. If you have sole control over your funds and don't need anyone's permission to save or spend them, you'll feel a rich sense of security that, to quote Mastercard, is "priceless."