This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
None of us really know what tomorrow will bring. No matter how much we might plan and make decisions about what our lives will be in the future, the only thing that we can be certain of is that life is unpredictable. For most of us, that uncertainty is pretty scary. I’ll include myself in this bunch because not knowing and really accepting that is something I struggle with a lot. This month, however, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural #WomenInspired Prudential event here in my city and it was really a motivating experience. I was able to hear from so many other women who share many of my same concerns.
For some, the talk about finances and planning for the future revolved around family, for others it was about parenting, but the underlying theme for everyone was fear of the unknown. And I think that’s what really resonated with me the most. How fearful we are about discussing our financial situation or plans openly. Just doing that and honestly sharing our true feelings at the #WomenInspired event was so emotional. It was an eye-opening experience too, because while we may not be able to plan the future, we should be able to plan for our futures. That’s where Prudential stepping in to host these events around the country can really make a difference.
The more we talk about it the more confident we can become in our decisions for the future, knowing that being a little afraid is perfectly okay too.
So let’s really talk about finances. Before we get started, though, let me just say I am not a financial expert, or even the assistant to a financial expert. I am a woman who wants the best for her family and who tries to make the best decisions for our tomorrow.
A few weeks ago we were in Las Vegas for a conference. I slipped into one of the sessions at that event which was about money management. When the session was over I walked out realizing I knew very little about anything beyond my personal finances. There is just so much we don’t know about. A lot of times it is because we are afraid to ask questions, because we don’t think we can invest, or because we are okay with simply putting a little money aside for our savings. We don’t realize that there are so many other financial options out there besides only a checking account or a savings account.
That’s also where we can make a decision to better inform our own kids on how to spend, save, and invest money. Raising money-smart kids might just mean they will be able to make much more sound decisions about their own futures. Teaching them the difference between spending on what we want right now vs. saving for the future could be very impactful. It’s something we don’t often think about, but it’s very important to setting them up for success. Imagine how much more savings they will be able to accumulate if they buy into their workplace-based retirement plans earlier rather than later.
The reality is we are living much longer than we ever thought possible and we should be able to not worry as much about our finances when we are retired.
One of the other concerns for many families is being able to pay for their children’s college. The best advice I’ve heard is to try to figure out the best ways to end up with the least amount of debt before you send off your kids to college. And don’t forget that there are also tons of resources out there to help your child pay for their college education.
FAFSA, for example, is a great option:
I know I need to gain control of my future and ask the questions that may lead to answers I don’t necessarily want to hear. That’s okay. I’m okay talking beyond my fears because I know talking about money now will affect my small family’s future.
Take the frustration out of understanding your own finances too and stay informed about your options.
Here’s a little bit from our discussion at #WomenInspired.