In my previous article I discussed The Top 3 Money Challenges of Women namely:
- Women are paid less in general.
- Women have shorter earning periods due to career interruptions.
- Women live longer.
Do you know that the above challenges become even bigger when a woman gets married? And since 7 out of 10 marital problems are about money, this most misunderstood commodity should really be talked about openly by a couple prior to and during marriage. Here are some things that women can do to empower themselves economically.
- Understand what your existing and future properties are getting into before you sign your marriage contract. Study the Absolute Community of Property vs. Conjugal Partnership of Gains under the Family Code of the Philippines. For women who gave up their earning job for the sake of the family, understand (and make your husband understand) that what he earns is not his alone. I wrote a piece that explains this in layman’s terms (Are you and your partner financially compatible?)
- At work, lean in. Lean In is the bestselling book of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that offers valuable insights to career women. While you’re still in the game, play your cards well. Use your women traits to your favor. Don’t drop out sooner than the time you actually leave. Visualize your career not as a limiting ladder but as a jungle gym, which offers more creative ways to go to the top.
- Go beyond budgeting in honing your FQ. Invest. Do you know that women in general make better investors? It’s because they have the temperament of successful investors. They trade less, are not over-confident but more realistic, more risk-averse, less prone to peer pressure, more likely to do more research before deciding. All these make for more rational investment decisions. (Read Warren Buffett invests like a girl)
- Simplify things. Women like variety. Have you ever wondered why there are thousands of shades in eye shadow, blush and lipstick? Clothes, shoes and bags have to be in a variety as well. But there is beauty and ease in simplifying things and this holds true for financial freedom. Just follow the 3 Basic Laws of Money and financial freedom will be easier to achieve.
- Raise your daughters well. I missed the chance of having one but I’ve always imagined that if I were blessed with a daughter, I would raise her to be independent, with high FQ of course, more sporty than mommy and as competitive as her brothers are, but not by trying to act like a man but by using her female attributes to her advantage. Studies on women show that girls with good relationships with their fathers are more successful in life. So dads take note of this.
Structural Changes are needed.
On top of the five items above, I believe that structural changes are also in order. I am the kind of woman who views gender equality in terms of giving fair opportunities to both men and women without the need to “homogenize” or make everything uniform. What a boring world to have “homogenized genders!” God created man and woman for a reason. There are things that are better performed by one gender over the other, and embracing this makes for a healthier family life. As we welcome women in the earning world, let’s also acknowledge that they have other special duties to perform in their families and to society in general – giving birth, nurturing children, making home, etc. Let’s make it conducive for them to perform these duties while pursuing personal dreams. I dream to see the following:
- Day care centers in offices (or office buildings which can be shared by several offices).
- A more systematic and convenient way of getting child support after a marriage breaks down. I see more women carrying the burden of child support after break-up. Even my helpers who end up being separated from their husbands end up taking care of their children both physically and financially.
- Better access to financing. In a recent symposium on women I attended, it was pointed out that even as microfinance institutions acknowledge that women are good borrowers because of their high loan repayment rate, the married yet separated ones, still encounter difficulties getting loans because of the absence of consent from estranged spouses. The abandoned women who are working their way back to economic empowerment are faced with this challenge. A systematic and cheaper separation of properties accessible to the poor may be in order to help them get back more easily on their feet. Furthermore, this will also protect their newly acquired properties after break up. I am happy to learn about Pope Francis’ initiative to reform marriage annulment procedures.
- Employers should review their compensation packages to be fair to women workers. If they see lop-sided salaries in favor of men (see Money Challenge 1 in previous article), they should study if this is purely because of meritocracy; otherwise, they should remember their own mothers, sisters and daughters.
- A systematic integration of the women who dropped out of the workforce to become full-time homemakers. I know a lot of women in this same category where I am. If I could only guaranty a second wind that is as meaningful and enjoyable as the one I have right now, I would prescribe full-time home-making to all young mothers. Nothing is sweeter and more fulfilling than seeing your children turn out well after you reared them full-time, and seeing your husband succeed as well in a field where you both shared in the past. There will be no hurt or envy if you end up doing something that’s both enriching and somehow contributes something to society. But this may not be the end result for everyone who took the path I took. After rearing their children full-time, a lot of mothers are at a loss on how to resume their life and continue to grow as a person now that the kids are grown up. Going back to their old job may not always be a good idea. Of course, the employers would be hiring the younger candidates who are more attuned to the recent changes in the industry. The problem is exacerbated when a separation happens along the way. In our country where despite having the Absolute Community of Property Law, women are still left with the empty bag after separation. We all have to learn from the story of Lorna Wendt who demanded half of everything from her GE Capital top honcho husband who divorced her back in the ‘90s (I’ll probably write about this one day). The point I’m trying to make here is that headhunters and the rest of society should have a better way to integrate into the workforce our mom-workers who took off to take care of their children. There should be a more conscious way of highlighting the advantages of hiring these candidates who now possess wisdom, patience and expertise only full-time mothers could have honed. Inasmuch as we give that 20% break to our citizens when they hit the senior age of 60, we should likewise give something similar to our baliktrabaho mommies; not in the form of tax-breaks (although that would be great) but more in the form of acknowledging their great contribution to society (hopefully, they raised great kids and husbands J) and more importantly, acknowledging their distinctive skills and strengths that can be helpful to society, in the different segments of our workforce.
I wish all the women and men got some worthwhile insights from this two-part series on the contributions of, and challenges faced by women. Empowering women and making half of the population happy and fulfilled bring about a much better society.
- Thank you very much to Beam and Go, Mayor Gang-Gang Alfelor and former Mayor Madel Alfelor-Gazmen for inviting us to Iriga City to conduct The Family FQ Workshop on September 6, 2015 to over 500 Irigenos.
- Come to the CFA Society’s 2nd Philippine Junior Finance and Investment Summit on September 12, 2015 from 9am to 5:30pm at the SMX Convention at SM MOA. Marvin Fausto will be one of the speakers in this event where they expect some 3,000 participants. And I’m pretty excited and proud because my son Enrique Fausto, who was in the team that won the Asia Pacific championship of CFA IRC (Institute Research Challenge) early this year, will be hosting this whole day event!
- Thank you to Maiqui Pineda of Maybank ATR Kim Eng for inviting us to the InvestAsia 2015 held at the Makati Shangri-la on August 25, 2015.
- I will speak at the 6th PANA (Philippine Association of National Advertisers) Foundation IMC Youth Congress on November 27, 2015 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Sen. Gil Puyat Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is also the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards.
Attribution: Images from belevation.com and thevoicebw.com modified to help deliver the message of the article.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.