At some point in her life, a woman will find herself alone. Whether she chooses to remain single, gets divorced or becomes widowed, 90 percent of women will be, at some time, solely responsible for her own financial welfare. She needs to ensure that her money matters are sound.
Keep your Financial
House in Order Make no mistake about it, women control trillions of dollars. They have the discretionary and disposable income to buy whatever they want. However are they:
• Getting the most out of their investments?
• Taking advantage of all the opportunities available to them?
• Investing appropriately based on their current life stage?
• Making sound decisions that will afford them financial security today and financial freedom in retirement? Women can take advantage of the opportunities available to secure their future, especially as they become more actively involved with family finances.
Did you know? • More than 60 percent of high net worth women have earned their own fortunes. • Women account for over 40 percent of privately owned businesses.
• A large percentage of women are living alone. Of the U.S. population of women age 65 and older, 43 percent are widowed. • Understanding common challenges and proactively working with a financial advisor to overcome these challenges can go a long way.
Take Control of Your Finances
• Put individual needs before others: Whether it's due to temporarily leaving the workforce to raise a family or care for an elderly loved one, many women are financially penalized for putting the needs of others before their own. The Social Security Administration says the average monthly social security benefit paid to retired workers in 2004 was $1,076 for men and $826 for women.
• Save for retirement: As a result of shorter careers, women have less time to accumulate a financial nest egg and save for retirement through your company-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k).
• Take more risks: Women tend to be more risk-averse than men. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Women are more patient and hold investments longer. On the flip side, investing too conservatively could endanger financial security by not providing adequate resources. Use asset allocation to diversify your portfolio.
• Know your target: Are you saving enough? According to the 2006 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 13 percent of women believe they will need to accumulate $1 million or more for retirement. While this may sound like a large sum, when you consider that your retirement could last 30 years or longer, plus the impact on inflation and taxes, you could outlive your savings. Systematically invest
as soon as you start your career so that you save a reasonable amount, even after 3 to 4 working years.
What is Your Life Stage?
• Besides the common challenges facing women, there are other issues a woman may face based on her particular life stage: Single working woman, single parent, managing my family, nearing retirement, living in retirement, recently divorced or widowed.
Build Your Financial
• As you move through the various stages of your life, remember that your financial advisor is a valuable resource. He or she can review your financial needs on an ongoing basis and recommend adjustments as your circumstances change.
Theresa Cavalier is a registered investment advisor with the Maffe Financial Group, LLC,
47 High St., Westerly. 401.447.4374
You Are In Charge
• Be sure you're comfortable with your financial advisor. As your needs change, it may be necessary to identify a new financial advisor to help you seamlessly progress through your various life stages. Questions to ask to help decide whether a particular advisor is a good match given your individual needs:
• What is their financial philosophy?
• What is their approach to planning?
• Are they part of a team?
• What are the costs and fees associated with working with them?
• How are they paid? Are they compensated on a fee-only basis or by brokerage commissions?
• How accessible are they? How often can you expect to meet with them? In person or over the phone?
• What services or products do they offer?
• What is the company strength?
• Do they have experience to serve as the lead coordinator for you entire financial team (i.e. your accountant, tax advisor, etc.)?