I don’t know who said that money doesn’t define success, but I’d like to have a word with them. After all, the two are so commonly intertwined that it can be hard to separate them sometimes. And while I know money isn’t everything, having a nice financial cushion to fall back on while simultaneously making waves in your industry doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world.
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That said, although everyone’s money situation is different, there are undeniable universal financial habits all successful women practice—a stunning realization I had recently after interviewing three women who are savvy AF with their money.
If you’re looking to take your finances and career to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Regardless of what your goals are, these tips can help you make money moves and become the kind of woman you aspire to be. Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about the financial habits all successful women practice.
1. They prioritize building an emergency fund
If there’s one thing successful women are about, it’s independence. They want to know that they can rely on themselves in all avenues of life, and Lapin knows the importance of this better than anyone. After growing up in a broken immigrant family, overcoming years of being broke, and crawling out of debt, she told me that she swears by having at least six months’ worth of living expenses saved up in the bank (or another account that’s easily accessible).
At the end of the day, having a nice financial cushion isn’t a luxury for successful women—it’s an absolute must. So, they’ll make adjustments to their budget as needed, avoid splurge purchases, and live below their means in order to build their emergency fund.
2. They strategically save and spend
Successful women don’t buy into the trap that money is “bad” or “evil.” Instead, they simply view and respect it for the tool it is and use it wisely. Alev explained to me that this means optimizing to save, and includes things like reassessing, canceling, or consolidating subscriptions on a regular basis, or opting to meal prep and cook at home.
That said, this doesn’t mean that successful women don’t spend money—because they most certainly do. However, making these small, daily lifestyle changes helps them save more and strategically put their leftover money into whatever’s most meaningful to them. They’ll focus on spending on things that bring them joy, whether it be traveling, a night out with loved ones, and so on. This mindset also helps them avoid impulse or emotional purchases, which only boosts their bank account.
3. They don’t avoid their finances
Money blindness is a real thing—out of sight, out of mind, right?—but neglecting to check in on your finances out of fear of what you might see is one of the biggest indicators of an unhealthy relationship with money. Which is why successful women don’t avoid looking at their finances. And according to McKay, they relish the opportunity to do so.
McKay explained to me that women who are thriving in life know that the numbers tell a story and can give them insight into ways they might be overspending or need to adjust their budget. That’s not to say they don’t get scared or anxious over what they might see—they’re still human—but they’ll remind themselves that checking in on their finances is an act of self-love. And this reminder is what gives them the courage to move forward, despite their fear.
4. They passively grow their wealth
Another universal talent successful women possess is the ability to grow their wealth without having to lift a finger. They’re financially productive in every single aspect, and strategically place their money in high-yield savings accounts, long-term investments, and retirement portfolios—something Lapin refers to as “utilizing the power of compound interest.” After all, they work hard for their money, and passively growing their wealth lets their money return the favor tenfold.
5. They take advantage of credit cards
Credit cards often (and unfairly) get a bad rap. But successful women know better. “Credit cards can be a slippery slope for a lot of people,” Alev told me. “However, when you use them responsibly, they can reap a lot of benefits.” This is why successful women commit to making on time payments, only buying what they know they can afford, and having a low credit utilization in order to build a pristine credit score.
Furthermore, successful women also make sure their credit card fits into exactly what they need. If they’re planning a vacation, they’ll opt for a travel rewards card so they don’t have to pull from savings to float their trip. Or, they’ll take advantage of a cash back credit card to get rewards for purchases. Whatever the case may be, they make their credit card fit into their lifestyle—not the other way around.
6. They reward themselves
Contrary to popular opinion, successful women do not hoard money. While they are undoubtedly savvy savers, they also know how to treat themselves when the time is right. “When you eventually reach one of your goals, you should give yourself credit! It may motivate you to continue working towards your goals if you know there’s something fun waiting for you once you get there,” Alev told me. And though these rewards can range from simple to lavish, they will never break the bank, so successful women can continue building their wealth.
7. They trust the flow of money
Money comes and goes, and successful women know this. Rather than get caught up in how much money is leaving their bank account, they trust that more will flow right back to them. Lapin, McKay, and Alev know that it’s natural for their finances to fluctuate, and this belief releases them from a scarcity mindset and helps them live in a natural state of abundance.
Trusting the flow of money is also what helps them make genius financial moves. They’re not caught up in the emotional charges of money, and handling money clearheaded gives them the ability to make financial calls to the best of their ability. When it comes down to it, they’re all about making their money work for them, saving where they can, and ultimately enjoying the fruits of their labor. Adopt these principles and apply them to your own life, and in no time, you’ll be the kind of success story that makes headlines.