Ladies, we have so much to celebrate. We’re empowering ourselves more and more each day, taking care of business at work, at home, and in the community. We’re aging well, getting more fit, fabulous and fierce every day! But so many of us still lack confidence in a very important area: Money and investing!
The studies are alarming. Women are 80% more likely than men to experience poverty during their retirement, according to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security. These financial hardships for women are due to factors like unequal pay, funding gaps due to family obligations like caring for children and aging parents, lack of education around financial literacy, and sometimes just procrastination. This is a serious crisis!
Part of my mission as a personal financial advisor is to help women gain more confidence and understand how they can make choices to change their situations from being financially insecure to FINANCIALLY EMPOWERED!
If you know that you are ready to make a change in 2017, we suggest these basic steps to start you on the journey towards taking control of your financial future!
#1. Do some Discovery!
Keep a journal. Start writing down the things you want most out of life! These could be anything from buying a home, to having more fun and adventure, owning luxury items, finding a better job or starting a business, to having more time to spend with family, you name it!
For example, if financial security is your goal, ask yourself questions like “What does security mean to me?” and write down the answers. If success is your goal, ask “What does success look like to me? How will I know that I am successful?”
There is no deadline or page requirement for this, but it can help you understand what matters most to you, and get you more in the habit about being intentional with your time and money honey!
#2. Separate the nice-to-have’s from the NEED-TO-HAVE’S.
After you’ve taken some time to become self-aware, start separating the things you’ve identified into long-term and short-term goals. This will help you formulate the goals that SPEAK UNIQUELY TO YOU, and help you determine which are the most important ones that you want to truly harvest and grow!
#3. Start preparing a strategy by understanding who you are financially
Knowing your financial situation is key. We as advisors call this “knowing your personal balance sheet.”
Unfortunately, this is usually the point where many women stop at the red light and pull over. Instead, keep the engine running by going through this planning exercise:
- Take a tally of the assets that you own (cash, investment accounts, annuities, real estate, etc…). Note the amounts and how much you contribute to them each month.
- Also gather info on all your outstanding debt (Credit cards, personal and student loans, car loans, mortgage). Note the interest rates, outstanding balances, and payment periods.
- Find out what insurance protection you currently have for your personal assets like your home/apartment and car, and also coverage for you and your family through disability and life insurance (which may, or may not be offered to you through your employer)
- What are your monthly expenses? Know how much you are spending each month.
See that wasn’t so bad! Knowledge is power! You can’t know where you’re going unless you understand where you’re at.
#4. “Alright, I know about my financial situation. How do I create a strategy?”
If you’ve done your homework, now is the time to learn about the different strategies available to help you save and invest for the long-term.
- A great place to start empowering yourself with a savings strategy is by participating in your employer’s retirement plan.
- Open up and start contributing to your own IRA account.
- Attend financial workshops, like ones available through nonprofits like your local YWCA.
- Use internet and book resources to start educating yourself about investing, and create a financial plan for yourself. (Check out this series by Allianz Life on Women, Money & Power)
These small steps can help boost your confidence and get you more comfortable about being in the driver’s seat. They might also highlight the areas where you might need more expert guidance on from a financial planning perspective.
#5. You are not alone!
Start surrounding yourself with other like-minded people that have similar life aspirations. If you don’t have many of these positive people in your life, it’s time to make a new friend!