As women, we often put aside our own: health, wants, dreams, & hopes for our spouses, for what society says we should be doing, or for the “better-ment” of the family. Even though I know what a huge mistake this is, I’ve been guilty of it myself for far too long.

Even if you have a wonderful marriage and divorce isn’t anywhere on the horizon or even in your hemisphere things happen. Life happens. You know that old saying, “If you want a good laugh, tell God your plans.”

I grew up like most of you did. My dad worked and my mom stayed home taking care of us kids. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we weren’t struggling either. I had four brothers, three of whom were older and out of the house. My parents were in their 40’s, much like my husband and I are now.

It was a normal Friday in May, sunny and mild when my father stuck his head inside my bedroom door and shouted “Snow Day! No school today we’re having a snow day!” I was 15 and you didn’t have to tell me twice. My younger brother and I watched that big yellow bus go by thinking we were so lucky!

Eight hours later my father died from a massive heart attack and our lives were never the same again. I don’t just mean the gut-wrenching loss of my dad, but even the mundane daily stuff that we never paid attention to before. When you’re in your 40’s you don’t think much about dying. Well, at least my parents didn’t, but they had never been big on planning things out.

My mom woke up that Saturday morning as the sole decision maker, breadwinner, & a widower with two teenagers at home. She not only had to figure out how to bury my father with no insurance, but also keep the house, and raise her kids.

I always said my life would be different, but as we grow older we tend to take the path of least resistance. The days go by in a haze of soccer games, dinners, and laundry and before you know it 40 is staring back at you from your bedroom mirror and you’re no more prepared than she was back in 1985.

Then my brother-in-law died with no insurance and we struggled to come up with the money to bury him. It was so bad that my stubborn husband went out and dug his brother’s grave to save money. Don’t ask…it was a very dark time, but we learned something very important.

A few weeks later we were the owners of two bright, shiny new life insurance policies and two gravesites. We thought that was it. We were responsible, we were smart, we still didn’t have a clue. Those things are VERY important but financial freedom means a lot more than just two pieces of dirt and a sheet of paper.

I’m on a mission to find out what it means to be financially secure because those two words have never gone together in my world. My parents grew up with nothing. I mean NOTHING. My mom’s family grew or hunted their food & my father was an orphan by the time he was 4.

My parents were the first generation to ever see a city of more than a few thousand. I’ve written before about the lives of my ancestors and it’s not a pretty picture. Not only was it one of the poorest times in our country (the depression), but also one of the poorest places in our country(Kentucky).

They couldn’t teach us about money because they didn’t know about money. They spent what my dad made on a little house and five mouths to feed. Their years of having little paving the way for a long road of shiny new object syndrome. Until at 46 years old my father had a heart attack and died. Forty-six. Think about what you were doing at 46. What would happen to your family if you died suddenly on a random Friday morning at the age of 46?

Even worse, imagine a world where you were alive, but unable to take care of yourself. How would your family function if God forbid, you had to have round the clock care or expensive therapies? How would your loved one earn a living and be a caretaker too? What would your kids have to give up? college?

What if you have big dreams about the second half of your life. Travel around the world or maybe owning your own restaurant. How do you create that strong foundation to be able to live out your dreams when you’ve finally met all of your responsibilities. We’re married, we’re single, we’re homosexual, we’re L.G.B. or T. We’re black, we’re white, but WE ARE ALL FEMALE. Whatever it is that we are in our lives we’re already far behind in one of the most important things we need to survive. MONEY.

It takes us longer hours, more days of the weeks, and more years in college to make less pay and even fewer promotions. This isn’t going to change overnight. What we’re going to have to do is educate ourselves on making our money work both smarter & harder.

We have to make better choices and we can’t do that if we don’t even know what those choices are. We need to be strategic in not only how we spend our money, but how we save it and make it grow at a healthy rate. I don’t know about you, but I have no clue what this looks like.

We have to make better choices and we can’t do that if we don’t even know what those choices are. We need to be strategic in not only how we spend our money, but how we save it and make it grow at a healthy rate. Click To Tweet

According to CNN Money:

  • Women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016.
  • When you take a career-long view, the gap hinders wealth building. Based on the 2015 wage gap, a 20-year-old female entering the work force full time will lose $418,800 over a 40-year career compared to a male worker, according to the NWLC.
  • The gender pay gap is much larger among African American and Hispanic female workers.
    Hispanic women made 54 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earned, which means they will lose more than a million dollars over a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap, according to the
  • Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns, meaning they will typically lose more than $840,000 over a 40-year career.
    Asian female workers are faring the best at narrowing the gap. They make 85 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes.
  • The gap is often larger among higher-paying jobs, according to Hegewisch.
    Personal financial advisers had the biggest gender wage gap last year, according to a report from IWPR. The study did find occupations where women earned more than men. Those occupations included counselors; teachers assistants; combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food; and sewing machine operators.

What this tells me is we have to stretch our dollars even further to get what we want. That means investing the money we do make. Just saving it isn’t going to grow that nest egg.

So with a little help, I’m going to learn about investing and I’m going to share that with all of you in small bits and pieces (in a way that doesn’t make you want to stab me in the eye). Because as female entrepreneurs we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves on what it takes to achieve financial freedom on our own terms.

Working women contribute to healthier economies and societies yet we still have to contend with challenges like the gender pay gap. We can’t fight for equality if we don’t know what equal should look like and the worst thing we can do for ourselves and our businesses is to make financial decisions based on fear.


Rena McDaniel


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