Written By Kelley Holland
Here’s a well-known thought question: imagine it is the end of your life, and everything has turned out exactly as you wished it would. What does that look like for you? Where do you live? What has your work been? How have you experienced success?
It turns out that in this as in so many other ways, men and women are very different. Take careers. Men value titles and high pay significantly more than women. Women, for their part, put more emphasis on quality of life, at work and everywhere else.
“Women define success based on what matters to them as individuals, rather than what their organizations assume people will most value,” wrote Sally Helgesen, a women’s leadership expert, on LinkedIn.
It is tempting to parse why these differences exist – but I’m going to take a different tack. To me, these differences underscore the point that we each have our own dreams, goals, and priorities. Including when it comes to money.
What Do Women Do With Their Money?
Women receive an awful lot of messages about what they should be doing with their money. But the truth is, when we acknowledge what our own objectives and priorities are, we’re much more likely to adopt behaviors that will help us get where we want to go.
I heard from a woman not long ago who wanted help figuring out what would be the “right” amount for her to save for her future. It’s a challenging question – and there is no one right answer. It all depends on what she wants that future to look like: Where does she want to live, and at what level of comfort or luxury? How much does she intend to travel, and does she want budget or luxury adventures? What kind of support does she intend to provide to other family members? How long does she want to work for pay? What is her medical/health situation?
These are just some of the questions that could inform how she arrives at her own answer as to the “right” amount to save.
Choosing a Direction for Your Finances and Your Future
Yes, there are lots of studies exploring what people spend money on, and how big a financial cushion people may need.
But really, the most important voice to listen to when you think about your future is yours. When you consider what you want your tomorrow to look like, that will tell you more than any study can about what you need to be doing with your money now.
So go ahead, daydream a little. Imagine that ideal future. Then you’ll start to see how you can take steps to help it come true.