Ladies, Handle Yourselves With Care
If I Scare You Then I'm Doing What Is Needed
Many women put others before themselves, particularly family needs and wants. This is a wonderful quality but it should not be an automatic habit. Even where all the family expenses are being met and there are wills and other documents in place, these sometimes are contested or otherwise delayed which could cause you to suffer for the short or long term if you have nothing or too little of your own. Also, if your spouse or benefactor becomes involved in illegal activity, it can all be taken away by authorities at any moment. It doesn't matter if you can make it on your own or are accustomed to certain things or not. It is imperative that women be more proactive for their financial independence and work towards self sufficiency.
Putting away even small amounts on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis will add up, give you peace of mind, and the ability to weather financial storms. It is not easy for many particularly in this economic environment, but it is your responsibility to provide for yourself. Even if you are married, this is not an excuse to rest on your laurels. If you have financial independence, you will not bite your tongue because you depend on him or neglect saving money for your own goals because you are married. Don't even think about contributing all of your income until it hurts you or your future. Also, recognize that he should be doing the same for himself. Reality is that divorce rates are very high, he may lose his job or become ill, and cannot earn an income. People die and men tend to leave this world first. Add in the fact that many people still shun prenuptial agreements, wills, life insurance, powers of attorney, trusts, etc., and you may be in for a life changing financial disaster. Single, divorced, and widowed women make up the largest numbers of people living in poverty. You may be in a position where you can work towards avoiding this.
Get a credit card and bank account in your name only if this is not already in place. If you don't have good credit, make improving yours a priority and don't co-sign for anyone because you're putting your good credit at risk. Good credit is required for obtaining jobs, car insurance, home loans, apartments, and much more! Understanding that women tend to outlive men should prompt you to squirrel away money regularly into savings and emergency funds no matter how young or old you may be. The earlier you start, the better off you will be. But, late is better than never. If your goals include retiring comfortably or retiring wealthy, consistent effort in your personal financial situation is even more important. Married women should never assume they will always be married or that their husband will always contribute to their income or support.
If these realities do not prompt you to save money, perhaps thinking of the fact that many more women live in poverty than men should get your attention. Women take time off from the working world much more frequently than men for a variety of reasons such as pregnancy, providing caregiver duties, illness, and more. These periods usually don't provide the woman with any income that she can save for her future. Only some homemakers get an allowance, further decreasing the odds that she will be able to survive financially should something happen. The goal here is not to focus on money, but to be self sufficient or to at least lessen the blow when (not if) life gives you lemons.
Pamper Yourself More Often
Taking care of your job duties, children, and household can be stressful at times and leave you with little time on your hands. Add in illness or caregiver duties or economic woes, and you may find little desire to take good care of yourself. Despite this, it is to your benefit (and those around you) to take care of yourself to maintain a sense of vitality and not lose yourself in the constant pull of other people and things. Take time out to relax in your bath or hot tub, curl up with a book, or buy yourself something that you've been wanting if you are able to do so.
Getting active with your hobbies or finding one will allow you to connect to something that brings you joy. If massages, facials, manicures, or pedicures are more your speed and money is a bit tight, you can save as much as 50% or 60% by using these services from schools that provide these services by supervised students. Making sure that you get enough exercise will improve your overall health, boost your energy levels, and studies show that you also benefit your brain in various ways with exercise.
If you find you are on auto-pilot and not enjoying or doing something just for you at least several times a week or month, you are letting yourself go. That can be one difficult treadmill to get off of if it becomes a habit. It is likely that you can look at people all around you that have done this with bad results. Do not allow this to happen to you because if it does, it is an expression by you that you don't consider yourself worthy. Whatever you truly believe is true. Tread lightly.
A major issue for many women, weight does not have to be something that constantly disappoints you. Nor does weight management or loss have to be an extremely difficult chore. Let go of excessively difficult goals and begin with baby steps as far as your goals and techniques. Weight gain is often a sign that you have not been taking care of your true nutritional needs, haven't been avoiding excess calories, and in some cases a rapid weight gain or loss indicates there is an underlying health problem that must be found and addressed by a doctor. For those using medications that can cause weight gain, speaking with your doctor about this issue or asking for a referral to a nutritionist is a good idea. Following through with their recommendations will go a long way to managing your weight or losing it all.
You can become more active and lessen the number of calories that you put in, but remain mindful that most often, weight gain does not happen rapidly and usually it will not reverse rapidly either. Stay the course for your long term health. If you find yourself rushing to take weight off by any means, think twice about what you are doing to your body. If you lose weight rapidly, you will lose muscle making it more likely that you will gain more weight than you lost because muscle burns calories even if you when you aren't exercising. Gaining more weight than you lost is how many women get sucked into yo-yo dieting and other extremes making the initial weight they wanted to lose actually multiply. Even worse is the fact that quick weight loss and yo-yo weight loss can result in loose skin.
As we age, we need fewer calories to perform the same normal functions necessary for life. However, many women continue to eat the same number of calories or increase the number of calories that they consume. Another strike against women is that we tend to have less muscle than men to start with and we lose it as we age just as men do. Particularly if you are over the age of 30, strength training or use of weights (free or machines) should be something you do at least 2 or 3 times a week to maintain and build muscle. Doing this will help you lose weight. Also keep in mind that muscle takes up less space than fat and don't worry about "bulking up". You will not get bulky unless you are strength training or using free weights excessively, such as a couple hours or more every day and you are eating an overwhelming amount of protein. Even then, bulking up may not actually happen, this is why steroids are still popular for those that actually want to bulk up.
Find activities or sports that you enjoy and aim for 60 minutes of activity daily. It does not have to be all at once, in fact if you are sedentary, you should try to get up and move around or at least stretch your muscles on an hourly basis. Aim for more activity overall and be consistent in your efforts. Not only will you eventually lose weight, you will become healthier for your efforts and likely live longer. Make it a priority to eat at least 5 or 6 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and you will find that healthy foods are crowding out the processed and bad for you foods. With some effort and time you will notice a pleasant change on the scale.
Maintaining your level of education, improving, or expanding upon it is important for the majority of women because education is most often an important requirement to finding higher levels of pay in the workplace or as entrepreneurs. It is a requirement to be taken seriously to excel in many careers and will often make a variety of experiences available to you that will contribute to who you will eventually become. Studying abroad brings a whole new perspective on life and culture to the student. Education is also important because you will be exposed to ideas, people, and organizations that can play a positive role in your future whether or not you initially know this.
There are millions of college graduates that have people and organizations at their colleges and universities to thank for opening doors that would have been otherwise closed to them. Many are introduced to higher paying positions, receive mentoring, or other assistance because of their attendance and performance at particular schools. No matter what you may think, going to school at any age can be accomplished and particularly during this recession you will find that there are more adults who are middle aged and older taking college courses. It has also been proven in various studies that the more you exercise your brain, the more likely you will be to stave off cognitive decline. More highly educated persons also tend to be healthier overall because they are often more informed about causes and effects of a variety of ailments and diseases. Being exposed to this information and proof, those with more education are better able to avoid or lessen the impacts of various diseases.
Where time is a major deterrent, there are women who take courses online, take a fewer number of courses each semester, or simply take courses as their schedules allow. Yes, a college education is expensive and time consuming. But there is not a way around the fact that the better to highest paying careers require at least an associate's degree or greater. A college education is not a requirement for all careers and entrepreneurs but for many women who wish to be independent, it is something that plays a great role in climbing the ladder to their self-sufficiency, comfort, or wealth.
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