My mum taught me a lot of things growing up.
How to cook scrambled eggs.
How to read.
And how to plait my hair.
She also taught me some things about money.
She’d say, if you look after money, it looks after you.
And, remember to save for a rainy day.
But I learned a lot from the things she didn’t say, too.
The way she let my dad handle all the finances throughout their marriage.
The way she didn’t ask any questions, because she preferred not to know the answer.
She quit her job to raise us three kids full time, and gave up an income because of it. And I saw how she often had to ask him for money to buy whatever it was she needed, or wanted.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but the money my dad received and the money my mum didn’t receive, created an unhealthy power imbalance in their relationship. My dad had all the power.
And because my mum had no money to support herself on her own, I often wonder if that made her stay in a marriage and a relationship she no longer wanted. Because she didn’t have another choice.
And that makes me think about all the women around the world who believe they have no choice but to stay, too.
To stay with a partner who’s beating or raping them.
To stay with a partner who’s lying or cheating on them.
Or to stay with a partner who doesn’t love or respect them the way they deserve to be loved and respected.
A woman’s best protection is a little money of her own.
—Clare Boothe Luce
That’s the power of being a financially independent woman.
That’s what money buys you as a woman. Protection. Comfort. And escape.
I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I don’t believe my partner will ever become abusive towards me, or stop respecting me. But at the same time, I’m still extremely uncomfortable with the idea of allowing him to pay my way.
Quitting my job to start my own business was a risky move. I was lucky to have some savings to fall back on, which some of us don’t. But it wasn’t a huge amount. And when you first make that move and are growing any business, cash flow is usually tight and often unsteady.
You can never be sure if you’re going to have enough to pay the bills this month. The same way you never know if you’re going to get laid off next week. Or kicked out of your home tomorrow.
Financial independence is paramount. My mom always says that when a woman is financially independent, she has the ability to live life on her own terms. I think that was the soundest advice that I ever got. No matter where you go in life or who you get married to, you have to be financially independent – whether you use it or not.
– Priyanka Chopra
The term “kept woman” was coined for a reason. When I hear it, I can’t help but be reminded of the way we might keep a pet animal. That’s exactly what you become by default when the man you’re with has all the money, and therefore all the power.
You have zero control.
He can say and do what he wants. And it puts him in a position where he can control what you say and do, too. With each day that passes, your freedom fades. Choices become less about what you want to do, and more about what you have to do.
Every woman needs enough money to be able to walk away from anything – at any time – if she wants to.
When I was in my teens, I naively used to think marrying a rich man was all I had to do in this life. Everything else would fall into place as a result. I’d live in a big house, be a doting wife, raise some kids, never work, and live happily ever after.
That’s what some women are taught. That money is all we need. And the easiest way to get it is to find a man who already has it.
The idea of going out there and making it ourselves often doesn’t make an appearance. This is slowly changing, yes, but not fast enough.
And it’s not difficult to figure out why women aren’t actively encouraged by society to make money, the same way that men are.
Women with money and women in power are two uncomfortable ideas in our society.
– Candace Bushnell
The more money women have, the more power we have. And if we have more power, that means we have a louder voice that becomes increasingly harder to ignore.
All of sudden, we have more of a say in the way society is run.
And we can no longer be controlled like puppets on a string.
We regain full control of our bodies, and our human rights.
We get to re-define what value is.
And become true equals with men, and will stand with them, shoulder to shoulder.
This is the power of a financially independent woman.