ad collaborative post What is Financial Independence? There are two key answers to the question, “what is financial independence?” The first is a broad concept, encapsulating a state of being where you are not reliant on the funds or charity of another to get by – where you can support yourself entirely, with income of your own.
The second speaks to a relatively recent phenomenon by the name of FIRE or Financial Independence/Retire Early, which has grown in popularity via online circles in recent years. The concept revolves around securing financial independence, in the form of an early retiring age and the ability to live a comfortable life without a salary.
Finances and Gender
Financial independence, in both senses and in an ideal world, would be an achievable goal for the vast majority of working-age citizens in the UK. However, in practice this is not the case. Inequality is still rife in modern-day UK, and affects at least 52% of the population in the form of gender inequality.
Historically, women have been underserved by a patriarchal ruling class, who expected them to raise children and tend to a household. Women were systemically deprived of the opportunity to learn, work, or otherwise exist independently – systems which have sadly endured to the present day, in the form of discrimination, misogyny and a cross-industry pay gap between women and men.
Women won the vote a mere century ago; in terms of finances, a woman could not open a simple bank account in her own name until as recently as 1975.
Addressing Financial Independence for Women
For women, financial independence has only been a real, honest possibility for around 50 years – and they face higher hurdles to achieving it than their male counterparts. So, what can be done? Education can inspire women to engage with their financial situation at an early age, but proactive engagement with money-saving and income-generating measures can help redress some of the systemic barriers to living a life of financial freedom.
Astute budgeting can find money usually spent on unnecessary luxuries, and limited-access savings accounts can lock savings away to accrue higher rates of interest. Retail stock trading is also more accessible than ever before, with trading platforms like MT4 available for Mac download as well as Windows, enabling users to grow profits from investment on the UK stock market.
These tools and techniques are available to everyone on a financial freedom journey – and the systemic barriers to equal treatment for women whether social, professional or financial are a long way from being eradicated. But education and adoption are part of the solution, engaging women who might otherwise be disenfranchised from thinking about finances in a male-dominated sphere.