Three Financial Literacy Tips for Women

We are in the midst of Financial Literacy Month (FLM). I’ve been writing about it all month, so by now you should have some familiarity with what FLM is and how to get started.  If not, please take a look at my prior two blog posts.

This week, I want to offer three critical tips for women. Usually, most folks view investing, finance and money management as the domain of men. Nothing could be further from the truth! Women make up roughly half the population so it is vital they build their financial literacy.

The first tip – take care of yourself. Many women are mothers, wives, and caretakers who are often responsible for the care of others. Therefore, women should prioritize their own health and wellbeing first. Health and wealth have generally been linked and studies show that if you are healthier, you tend to be wealthier, and vice versa. If you are a woman and you are the major or sole breadwinner for your family, your health is of vital importance so you can continue in this role.  Consider how becoming ill and losing your income would affect you and those for whom you provide. You need to take care of yourself first, from both a health perspective and a financial perspective. Do not skip regular doctor visits; monitor your health and know what’s going on. Find an exercise activity that is just for you such as walking, running, yoga, hiking, etc., and participate regularly.  Meditate, get adequate sleep, and work at lowering stress. It’s good for your physical health and your emotional health. Financially, save and invest for yourself first! Stop underwriting the lives of others until you have provided for yourself.

The second tip – ask questions! Women tend to delegate money management. STOP DELEGATING and engage with your financial life. Women have very different investment needs than men. For one thing, women in general tend to be more realistic and conservative when it comes to investing and planning for the long-term. They have to be, women on average live longer than men. If you are a woman in a same-sex relationship, you are likely planning for two longer lives in retirement. No matter your level of financial literacy, do not be shy about asking questions of your adviser or even your partner if you have delegated the task of money management to them. If you have delegated this task, stop delegating and start engaging with your finances. You don’t have to understand everything, but start by asking more questions more frequently until you are familiar with your financial situation and take back control of your finances.

The third tip – know thy self. Now that you are taking care of yourself, and that you are NO LONGER DELEGATING your financial decisions, you need to know thy self. You may know who you are as a woman; but do you know who you are financially as a woman? If not, you need to know. Hire a financial planner and find out where you stand financially. Your adviser should be able to give you all the basics such as a cashflow snapshot, liquidity analysis, insurance, investment and estate planning overview. Find out where you are now, where you want to be (think, goals), and how to get there. Work with your planner and implement your plan. Remember, your plan should be flexible and grow with you over time as your goals change and your needs shift. As a plus, your financial planner is all yours and you can ask all the questions you need to (see second tip above).

When it comes to investment and financial planning, these three tips just scratch the surface. Women do face very different challenges than men when it comes to planning and investing. Financial Literacy Month is a great time acknowledge these differences and for women to take back control over their financial lives. Take that first step.

As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you with a new approach to your finances, set a timeline and put that plan into action. I can also be there to answer questions and help you set goals and establish a timeline for implementation. #talktometuesday #budget #Hireaplanner #spendingmap #savings #cash #debt #womenfirst #women