Women & Wealth: Creating Your Financial Roadmap
Women as investors are a growing economic force, yet more than 70% of women feel the financial services Industry is not geared towards them. While men and women tend to have similar financial goals, there are unique circumstances that can impact women that they need to plan for. In a recent Jam Session, Kathleen McQuiggan, President of Catalina Leadership LLC, shared her financial roadmap and other steps women can take to gain financial freedom.
We’ve heard the facts: women earn 77 cents to the dollar of men; live an average of six years longer than men; and are more risk averse than men. Men view money as a starting point (for investments), while women see it as an end point (earned for hard work). Women feel less knowledgeable than men when it comes to investing decision-making, but are eager to learn more about investing. So where should we start? The easiest place is to simply be a part of the conversation. Talk to other women more about money because we don't do it enough. Next, follow Kathleen’s roadmap to help you get on the path to financial empowerment:
[Related: The Best Career Advice Women Are Not Getting]
- Get organized. Check your credit score, get your statements together, understand your cash flows, assets and liabilities, and create a budget.
- Set financial goals, and write them down. They can big, small, short or long-term.
- Create a financial plan. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has great tools and resources to help you understand financial plans and find a CFP (Certified Financial Planner).
- Find someone to help you invest and figure out the appropriate asset allocation.
- Create an estate plan that includes your will, healthcare power of attorney, living trust, and memorial instructions. Think about ownership of the electronic information you have when you are no longer here.
- Determine your giving strategy. This is not just for people with a lot of money. Many women are reinvesting in themselves, in their communities and in other women. There are plenty of nonprofits looking for help and board members.
- Review and rebalance at least annually. If you work with someone on your assets and financial plan, that person should be reviewing your portfolio with you often.
- Think about retirement, which is often the end goal of your roadmap. Don't forget to consider challenges that could arise, such as increasing healthcare costs and caring for elderly parents.
- Plan for different life stages and transitions. Make sure you have an emergency fund to cover at least six months of living expenses.
Finally, it’s important to understand your beliefs about money. Do you live for the moment or save for tomorrow? Also be mindful of how you manage your day-to-day and long-term expenses. Don’t forget to pay yourself first and embrace your financial power. For more tips and resources, listen to Kathleen’s Jam Session .
By Allison Matejczyk
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