Empower a Woman's Financial Uniqueness

September 16, 2008
Joseph F. Lagowski

Physician's Money Digest, July15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 13

Women today have more earningpotential and influenceover financial decisions thanever before. They represent almost half ofthe workforce and own or manage manybusinesses. Women influence or controlthe majority of all consumer purchase andinvestment decisions. Thus, it's importantfor women to sharply focus on finances.

Whether you're a business owner, astay-at-home mom, or working in a corporateenvironment, learning to manageyour money should be a priority. Throughoutlife, women face different financialchallenges than their male counterparts. Ifyou're going to take control of your financialfuture, it's important to recognizethose differences and empower yourself.

Understand Differences

There are several reasons you shouldhave a financial plan and pay attentionto your investments. Let's take a look atsome of these reasons:

  • Longer life expectancy. According tothe National Center for Health Statistics,women outlive men by an average of 7years. Living longer, you face more years inretirement and may spend these yearsalone. You'll want to make sure that if youshould find yourself in this situation, youare confident in your financial knowledge.
  • Being on your own. You may findyourself abruptly alone at some point inyour financial life, whether it's after adivorce or following a spouse or partner'sdeath. These experiences can be anemotional time—for women and men.Make sure you and your spouse or partnerhave a solid understanding aboutyour finances so that you know whatyour next steps should be.

Time spent out of the workforce.On average, women tend to spend moretime away from work than men, caringfor children or an elderly parent. Even ifyou aren't currently in the workforceearning money, it is still important tostay in touch with your finances.

Navigate Challenges

The key to navigating these and otherchallenges is to have a well-roundedinvestment plan. The good news is thatit's never too early or too late to beginplanning for your future. Here are a fewsteps you can take now to help insureyour financial security:

  • Determine your financial goals.Make a list of your financial goals,including any specific needs your familymay have. Once your goals are determined,establish the steps necessary toachieve these goals. Regardless of whatyour plan includes, the important thingis to have your goals clearly defined andto identify the right tools that will helpyou reach them.
  • Seek the advice of a financial consultant.It is important to find a financialconsultant whom you feel comfortablewith and can trust. By seeking a professional,you won't be giving up your decision-making power, but enlisting the aidof an expert to provide you with helpfuladvice on creating a tailored plan foryour specific financial situation.
  • Educate yourself.Many women stillmake the mistake of shying away frominvesting, but educating yourself is thebest way to learn more about the variousvehicles available to you. Keep abreast ofyour own financial situation as well aswhat is happening in the investing worldby reading financial news, surfing theInternet, and attending personal financeseminars. By learning more about investments,you won't feel as overwhelmed ifyou find yourself unexpectedly in thefinancial driver's seat.
  • Implement your goals. Once you arefamiliar with investing and have a clearpicture of your financial goals, you canwork with your financial consultant tobegin implementing your plan. As youtake action, keep in mind that you mayneed to change it in the event of lifechanges such as marriage, divorce, or thebirth of a child. It is important to reviewyour financial plan at least once a year tokeep it fresh and in sync with your lifestyle.

Joseph F. Lagowski is vice president,investments, and a financialconsultant with AG Edwards inHillsborough, NJ. He welcomesquestions or comments at 800-288-0901 or www.agedwards.com/fc/joseph.lagowski. This article was providedby AG Edwards & Sons, Inc, member SIPC.