(StatePoint) The demographics of women have rapidly evolved over the last half-century. Now a prominent component of corporate America and the global business landscape, women are increasingly assuming stewardship of family and business finances.
Experts agree that women have unique qualities that make them excellent money managers, but also note that they may face different challenges than men. Here are five tips to help women plan for financial security:
• Align your choices and values. Spend time considering what you want to value and prioritize in your life. Do you value time with family and friends? Traveling? A strong financial foundation -- i.e., saving for emergencies and making retirement contributions? Review your bank account and credit card statements. If you realize that you are spending money on things you know you don’t value, it is time to reconsider your financial strategies.
• Put your needs first. Whether juggling career and family responsibilities, making a difference in their communities or all the above, women tend to aim high and deliver. But in doing so, women often put the goals and objectives of others before their own needs. Start focusing on yourself and your needs and redesign your relationship with money.
• Strive for balance, not perfection. Being balanced is not about deprivation or simply delayed gratification. It is about balancing consumption today with anticipated consumption in the future. While planning for the future is prudent, we all have to live life a little now. For example, purchasing that tea or cappuccino from a coffee shop may seem extravagant at times, but if it brings serenity to your early mornings and busy days and is not a financial burden, you should do it.
• Obtain competent, ethical financial advice. Seek out financial advice from qualified professionals whose values resonate with yours and who understand your specific needs. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) can help you set short- and long-term goals and bring all the pieces of your financial life together. In addition to conducting online research to verify CFP professionals’ certification and background, you should also interview several advisors to learn more about their experience, services offered, approach to financial planning and compensation method.
• Raise your voice. There is no such a thing as a dumb question and no need to feel like people are talking down to you or over you. You should not be rushed into making decisions. Your financial advisor should provide the education, time frame, and comfortable setting appropriate for your needs. And, if your advisor does not listen or pay attention to what you want for your financial future, find someone else to work with. To find a CFP professional near you, visit www.letsmakeaplan.org.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you focus on your needs and concerns and effectively manage your financial future.
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