Women and Finance: Finding the Balance

Adapted from Women and Wealth: a Financial Golden Age has Arrived by BMO Wealth Institute

We’ve all heard the statistics before: women live longer than men, women earn less than men for the same job, women are the primary care givers for both children and elderly parents, and the list goes on.  But what is the good news, and what are the steps women can take to prepare for their financial futures?  According to the BMO Wealth Institute, there are a number of achievable steps we can all take.

Step 1: Find a financial planner.  This will most likely take time that we all think we don’t have, but will pay big benefits in the long run.  A certified financial planner (CFP) can be found in many places, such as your local credit union, and sometimes provide services free of charge (especially if you are already using their other financial services).  Having several conversations with your planner will help to determine if their advice is truly for your benefit, or theirs.  An independent consultant, with a fee for service, will ensure unbiased help.  Just make sure to look for a professional designation, and not merely a title.

Step 2: Make a plan and follow it.  Easier said than done!  This can be as straight-forward as creating a budget and following it, or as involved as updating your will, power-of-attorney and health directives.  These steps all take time, but create peace of mind and reduce stress in the long run, something we all strive for.

Step 3: Save.  This is probably both the easiest and the hardest step.  “Live within your means” means exactly that: spending less than you are earning.  It is so much easier to deal with life’s unexpected curve balls when an emergency fund can be used, rather than the stress of mounting debt.  Taking advantage of employer matching retirement plans is also a no-brainer.  If your workplace offers a matching plan, please accept this offer of free money!

In conclusion, there is no get-rich-quick scheme.  Daily choices, small steps and regular routine will put you in the driver’s seat of your finances, allowing you to attain your goals.

For the full article, please follow the link: http://www.bmo.com/pdf/ewp/womeninwealth/15-375-BWI_Q1_2015-women-in-wealth-CDN-E05web.pdf

Submitted by Karla Fehr, PHEc