This Valentine's Day, IIXIIST founder Rebecca Klodinsky discusses the realities of entrepreneurship and relationships.
As women continue to shine in all facets of business and smash the proverbial glass ceiling once and for all, unfortunately there is still little talk around making sure your personal finances are safe should the unexpected happen.
When love and money mix, optimism is an essential ingredient, especially when it comes to protecting your finances.
The importance of financial literacy is becoming increasingly important as women out-earn their partners and dominate the corporate world.
It's easy to get caught up in the cocktail of emotions and all those good feelings that come along with moving in with your partner.
However, the fact is, if you live together as a couple, the law may recognise you as a de facto relationship, and your rights will often be exactly the same as if you were married.
Meaning there is little protection to your assets if your relationship breaks down.
Mastering your money as an entrepreneur is key for financial confidence; that's just a fact.
We all need it, we all want it.
Equipping yourself with the knowledge when it comes to all things money doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, and the first step in the right direction is changing your attitude towards money and finances.
These are my relationship-building (and breaking) tips to protect your assets should the unexpected happen, and how to be more financially savvy:
Set the rules from the get-go
Whether it's a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement, be sure both sides are crystal clear on expenses and who will be contributing to what.
Make sure you’re on the same page on what is considered discretionary spending and who will take maternity/paternity leave and for how long.
If you can’t talk to your partner about these things openly at the beginning of a relationship, there are bigger issues at play.
Embrace intimacy (with your bank account)
It's a common predicament to be in - we work all the time, we have a 'good job', but there never seems to be enough money coming in.
Implementing smart financial practices will help you make responsible decisions and in return, build a healthy savings account.
To do this, start by getting intimate with your bank account – pull your statements for the past three months and take a REAL look at where you're spending.
Do you have recurring charges that you completely forgot about? Monthly subscriptions from three years ago? Daily food delivery charges?
Be honest with what you need versus what you can do without.
Set *detailed* financial goals
Just as you plan out your business, your marketing, your growth – put some thought into your financial goals.
What are your goals for your business, as well as for your personal finances?
Maybe you’re aiming to buy a house but have only vaguely set a price range.
Establishing goals and their deadlines means being detailed in your numbers – down to the cent, having complete transparency with their attainability, knowing what needs to happen in your business and personal life to work towards them, setting deadlines and finding a way to be accountable.
Try investing in a dashboard system with trackable KPIs – this gives you a daily, monthly, quarterly or annual snapshot of exactly where the business is – financial indicators, sales performance, marketing performance – all in one place.
It also helps with communication and answering tricky questions in an efficient manner.
Seek advice, even if you're not in doubt
Yes, many of us are good at juggling the grind, learning new things, taking on more responsibility, sorting out how we’re going to handle it all – it can be so easy to fall into a trap of not asking for help when you need it.
If you're unclear about anything in relation to your finances; be it taxes, savings, debt elimination or investments – speak to someone trustworthy.
Confide in bank representatives, financial advisers, or entrepreneurial organisations.
Employing experts (rather than trying to be one yourself) will mean the daily, weekly and monthly financial housekeeping won't slide or bog you down.
Don't delay, start now
Building financial confidence requires a lot of discipline and patience.
The earlier you start taking action, the better off you'll be in the long run.
An easy place to start is to create a monthly budget, cut out large expenses, and save as much as possible.
Speak to an expert about investing in the stock market and long-term bonds early in your career, and always pay down debt.
It takes planning and hard work, but financial confidence is achievable when you have a set plan in motion.