Why every woman should have a financial backup plan

By Miranda Marquit

Reviewed by Kimberly Rotter

Mar 18, 2024

Read time: 3 min

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Money. We all need it. Unexpected (and planned, for that matter) expenses aren’t an “if,” they’re a “when.” You might wake up one morning and realize you need four new tires. Or you might get home after work and decide to leave your relationship. Either way, you’ll have a lot more options if there’s money set aside. 

Put another way, a financial backup plan puts more choices in your hands.

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The importance of having your own money

As a woman, having access to your own money is a big deal. It’s only been in our lifetime that women finally got access to their own mortgages and credit cards without the signature of a husband, father, or brother. When you have access to a financial backup plan and your own money, you can:

  • Quit a toxic job without having something else lined up

  • Leave a bad or abusive relationship

  • Explore more options for your life and work

  • Make more of your own decisions without relying on someone else’s approval

  • Deal with challenges like inflation and debt

Even if you’re not in a bad situation, having your own money offers flexibility to change course—without getting permission from someone else.


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Creating your financial backup plan as a woman

Let’s take a look at what to consider as you put together your financial safety net.

In a relationship

If you have a partner—or even a roommate—that you partially or entirely rely on to help cover costs, you definitely need a financial backup plan. You don’t know if or when that person could let you down, become abusive, want to separate from the relationship, or otherwise leave you in the lurch.

  • Make sure you have your own money: Open a bank account and set aside money. It should be in your name, not attached to anyone else.

  • Have a credit card in your name: This will help you build your credit. If you have to leave and establish yourself independently, it helps to have a credit history already.

  • Create a plan to earn money: Even if it’s just a couple hundred dollars a month, look for ways to bring in your own money to build an “FU fund,” also called a freedom fund. This is money that you can turn to if you need to leave a living situation or work situation quickly.

  • Tackle your debt: If you have debt, work on paying it down or consult with a professional who can help you with debt consolidation or debt resolution. Having fewer financial burdens can position you to make your move when you’re ready.

  • Maintain your support network: Don’t let a partner, roommate, or job suck up all your time and energy. You need to maintain a support network. If something goes sidewise, you’ll need friends and family to help.

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As a single woman

When creating your financial backup plan, you need to consider various ways to help your dollars go further and build protection against economic setbacks.

  • Create a budget: If you’ve never made a personal budget before, now’s the time to start practicing. A budget is the way you get to choose to use your money on things that are important to you. With a little practice, you can budget like a boss

  • Fund an emergency account: Set aside money for a rainy day so you can leave a job, move to a new town or cover other costs that might come up.

  • Maintain your credit: Pay down debt and build your credit history so that you have more flexibility and options in a pinch.

  • Build community: Look for ways to share costs with others. It might be getting on a phone plan with your parents, having regular potluck dinners with your friends to save on food costs, or making other arrangements.

  • Invest for the future: Pay yourself. Contribute to a retirement account to build wealth for the future.

Bottom line

You don’t have to adhere to “relationship” or “single” categories to build your financial backup plan. Single and partnered women can benefit from following all the points in this article to create a more stable financial situation and provide a safety net if things don’t go as planned.

Author - Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is an award-winning freelance writer and podcaster who has covered various financial topics since 2006. Her work has appeared in numerous media outlets, and she is frequently asked to host workshops and appear on panels on topics related to financial wellness. She is the co-host of the Money Talks News podcast and a consumer finance advocate and spokesperson for moving hub HireAHelper.

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Kimberly is Achieve’s senior editor. She is a financial counselor accredited by the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education®, and a mortgage expert for The Motley Fool. She owns and manages a 350-writer content agency.

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