6 powerful money tips for women from women
Celebrating Women’s History Month with financial literacy
As of 2020, women control 51% of personal wealth in the U.S., an estimated $22 trillion in assets.1 The majority of these women know their financial goals and are confident in their ability to make financial decisions if they have access to sound advice.1
Women are wealthier and more confident than ever, ready to decide and act on their financial future.
We believe with access to financial guidance that accounts for the unique opportunities and challenges of all women, financial security and independence will be more accessible than ever.
And who better to provide that sound financial guidance than other high-achieving women? We interviewed seven financial advisors from various backgrounds throughout the U.S., and here are the tips they provided.
The majority of women are confident in their ability to make financial decisions with access to sound advice.
Source: New York Life Investment Management. (April 2019). Women & Investing Analytical Report.
1. Use money as a tool for the life you love.
Most of us don’t pursue wealth purely out of love for big numbers. Instead, money is valuable for the life it provides. Whether that’s a secure retirement, funds to start your dream business, or financial independence,
When you begin to shift your mindset from money as the goal to money as a tool for the goal, you can unlock real potential in your financial strategy.
“When used correctly, money can be a fantastic tool used to design and live out your best life,” says Kristin Brandli Printon, AIF®, senior partner and wealth advisor at Moxie Wealth Management, an affiliate of North Star. “Part of using the ‘tool’ correctly, is understanding what accounts you have, where they’re at, and when you can get access to them without penalties.”
Financial professionals specialize in helping you wield your money tool to your benefit.
2. Stay informed about your financial picture.
Even if you aren’t the main financial decision-maker in your family, being educated and understanding your financial picture safeguards you and your family should anything happen.
“When I meet people who say their spouse takes care of [the money], I tell them they need to understand the family finances,” says Ann M. Wengronowitz, CFP®, founder of women-run Confidere Financial, an affiliate of North Star. “Learn where your money comes from, how it is spent, and where it is saved and invested. Your financial education can be an extra layer of security for you and your family.”
3. Focus on retirement funds.
Between the gender wage gap and women’s longer life expectancies, some women find themselves unable to build up as much money in their 401(k) and IRAs as their male counterparts.
However, this doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Kelly Neely, CFP®, financial advisor at North Star – Austin, provides this encouragement: “You control your finances. You can start contributing early, even if it seems small!”
If you create a game plan, you can leverage compounding to build up a solid retirement fund over the years while you’re working. A financial professional can also help you regularly review your retirement funding strategies and determine if you are on track for the retirement lifestyle you desire.
4. Define an investment risk tolerance that works for you and your goals.
Investing is a powerful tool for building wealth, as you allow positive interest to build up on your initial deposit, creating a future income for you or your family.
However, many women find it hard to strike a balance between risk and return on investments,1 and if investors of any gender only rely on general investment rules, they may never feel confident in their strategy or may neglect investing altogether.
“Women cannot allow fear to hold them back from the benefits of investing,” says Erin Cary, financial advisor at North Star – San Diego. “You can be risk-averse without keeping all of your wealth in cash and savings accounts.”
What Erin suggests is a strategy built for you, one that coordinates appropriate investing vehicles that support your individual goals.
Michelle Muthiani, financial advisor at Gifford Financial, a division of North Star, provides some insight on how this may work:
If a woman has funds she doesn’t need for 10 plus years, keeping it in cash or less risky investments can severely limit growth, which can actually make her less prepared for financial goals in the long term.
Attaching time frames to when you need money helps clarify how much risk you want to take on and when that choice may change.
Money needed in the short term can be in more conservative investments because the need for liquidity is in a smaller period. Money needed in the longer term allows us to be in something a little more aggressive and potentially lock in more growth for retirement or other long-term goals.
5. Make long-term health a priority.
Many women don’t even consider healthcare as a financial priority, yet women are far more likely to require long-term care as they age and they are more likely to provide unpaid care.2 These prevalent health and care needs can affect your financial stability and overall wellness.
“Extended care is a life-changing event that would have devastating consequences on your family and on your ability to keep financial promises during retirement,” says Karen S. Patel, CLTC, North Star financial consultant in Denver. “Often extended care covers the need for assistance or supervision with the Activities of Daily Living (ADL)—eating, bathing, toileting, transferring, dressing, and continence.”
For most people, the cost of this extended care is a shock, and long-term care planning provides options for covering these costs. More than financial concerns though, planning for retirement healthcare can provide a sense of emotional and physical comfort.
“With proper planning in your 50s and 60s, you can leverage assets and transfer the healthcare risk cost to insurance companies,” says Karen. “While fewer companies sell traditional long-term care insurance today, you can use different structures of coverages with flexibility if you start sooner than later.”
6. Find a financial professional who is empathetic and capable.
You don’t need to sacrifice empathy and trust for financial success when it comes to finding a financial professional.
If you are wanting to work with a female financial professional, know that your selection isn’t limited. With more women entering the industry and achieving more through education and experience, you have access to care and quality performance in financial services.
Stephanie Tsang, CFP®, ChFC, CEPA, partner and financial advisor at North Star – Scottsdale, provides guidance on where to find these types of female professionals: “Look for a firm that has both women and men in leadership. You should never feel that being a woman [making financial decisions] is negative. Rather, consider companies where they help women grow in their career and in wealth without any barriers.”