Financial Savvy – A Brief Primer for Women

 In Planning Insights

Women who want to become financially successful must motivate themselves to care about, take action and constantly monitor their own and their family’s finances. It is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have and it will require ongoing supervision and diligence. You may have a partner or spouse who can share these responsibilities, but don’t rely solely on them. Take action, set goals and monitor those goals. Here are some specific tips:

  • Understand that an investment in yourself is an investment in your future. Women with a higher education have a much better chance to earn more over their lifetime than those without.
  • Take classes, read books or do online research to keep yourself informed on many topics such as debt, (both the good kind and the bad kind,) insurance and retirement savings.
  • Track expenses and monitor spending habits. This is essential because the only way to monitor progress toward goals is to monitor spending AND savings.
  • Live on less than your salary to accumulate savings for retirement and savings for emergency funds. Knowing that you are working towards your goals and saving for life’s unexpected events helps boost confidence. Emotions sometimes play a large role in spending and the best way to not let impulse buying ruin your budget is to track spending.
  • Understand the pitfalls of bad debt and poor credit, including higher interest loans, being unable to obtain mortgages or even a job. Use credit cards only if you are disciplined enough to pay off the balance each month. This way, air miles or extra savings can be accumulated as you spend (each credit card is different) as well as extra money toward your children’s education ( Some types of debt can be good, such as mortgages, business loans and auto loans. You can research these types of debt and use them to your advantage (which might include tax savings.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your tax specialist to understand how these types of debt will help your financial future.
  • Hire a team of trusted professionals to help you with financial decisions. Monitor these professionals to ensure that they always have your best interest at heart and can help further your knowledge in these very important areas, including insurance. Ask questions about the costs, pros and cons of life insurance, long-term care, personal liability, renters, homeowners, earthquake and flood insurance to better understand their risks and how you can mitigate these risks using insurance.  Don’t simply ask once and then forget about your policies. Be vigilant and update your policies as life evolves. Hire an attorney to write and update an estate plan.
  • Hire a professional to help you build a financial plan so that you can understand your goals and what is needed to achieve them. A professional can help you mitigate risk in your portfolio and understand exactly how much risk you should (and can) take to achieve your long term goals.
  • These professionals cost money, but collectively they should save or earn you enough money to cover these fees.
  • Be confident in your worth and expertise and don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary from that position. This confidence comes with an understanding of your goals and what you need to do to achieve these goals.
  • If you put your career on hold to raise a family, keep your future working options open by working very part time to part time to keep your skills current.

A financially successful woman has a passion for money because of the freedom and confidence it can bring her and her family. With this freedom and confidence comes piece of mind.  Life can change in an instant, (death or divorce), and it’s essential to have the necessary skills to deal with whatever comes along.