Here’s why women need to take control of their money right now

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

As women, we all start out as single ladies trying to make it on our own. But when women begin coupling off into marriages, they have a tendency to default to their spouses to make important money decisions. For many, it’s a welcome relief to have a partner who’s willing to take the lead on more of the financial responsibility and plan for things like buying a home, saving for retirement and your children’s college funds.

And I see it happening all around me as several of my girlfriends who were great at managing their own money before marriage, have taken a backseat in this area once they got hitched, even though many of them earn as much or more than their husbands. Taking on the more “traditional” role of handling the day-to-day spending, they comfortably go along with their husbands’ financial plans for their families.

But this arrangement can bring a false sense of security as many women end up returning to singledom sooner than expected. No one wants to think about it, but between divorce and the fact that women statistically outlive men, as many as 9 out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Center for Women and Retirement.

Regrettably, those who’ve failed to prepare for these situations could find themselves flailing during one of the most difficult times in their lives.

I’m scared this could happen to me. And whenever I bring it up to my friends, most of them seem skeptical. They acknowledge the need to step up and be more financially savvy, but before you know it, we’ve moved onto a lighter topic of conversation.

This is what inspired me to do this music video PSA. I rewrote the lyrics to Beyonce’sSingle Ladies” because much of her music is synonymous with empowering women.

Studies have found that many women don’t have confidence in their money management abilities, and understandably, they want to educate themselves about investing before jumping in. But interestingly, despite a lack of confidence, when women do take control, they can outperform men in saving and investing. Even Queen Bey falls back on her more confident alter-ego “Sasha Fierce” from time to time. So if you have to fake it ’til you make it with a fiercer version of yourself (my alter ego’s name is “Je Ahn Say”), do it now. Because living in denial won’t pay the bills and it’s important to act before it’s too late.

Ultimately, learning how to spend, save, and invest wisely can take time, and the earlier you start, the healthier (and richer) your financial future will be. And being proactive about your money is something women (everyone, really) should do regardless of their marital status – at some point in their lives, women will need to learn how to manage it themselves.

Special shout outs to:

Yahoo Studios

 J.J. Brown: audio engineer extraordinaire

Delia Kelly: video editor/choreographer

Lyrics to the full song are below:

Verse 1

Now put your head up

You might be hitched, or just ditched

Or just doing your own little thing

But 9 out of 10, all women, will be alone in the end

Rely on a man to handle your cash

Don’t pay your money attention

You will be screwed, alone and confused

You just wait and see

Chorus:

’Cause if you’re with it, then you should control your own money

If you’re with it, then you should control your own money

Or regret it once you’re on your own with no money

If you’re with it, then you should control your own money

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

On your own

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, all alone

Verse 2:

Don’t know the amounts in your accounts

Not saving or investing

But leave your plan to your man

And your odds are worse than you think

So take charge of your money

I’m tellin’ ya honey

Pay your money attention

Don’t wait your turn, that’s too late to learn

Be confident with your money

Chorus:

’Cause if you’re with it, then you should control your own money

If you’re with it, then you should control your own money

Or regret it once you’re on your own with no money

If you’re with it, then you should control your own money

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

On your own

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, all alone

WATCH MORE:

5 ways to get your credit score out of the dumps

Here’s how much I spent on my baby’s first year

Now I Get It: A beginner’s guide to home insurance