Kathleen Williams, Registered Financial Consultant President of Advance Financial Lighthouse
For 35 years I have offered financial advisory services, helping women strive to reach financial success. The definition of financial success has been different from one family to the next, and it has been exhilarating to watch families change and grow financially. As one of eight children, with two parents struggling to provide for us, I grew up wanting something different. My life experience put a fire under me, a desire to educate, to empower and to enhance women’s lives with the knowledge I had gained.
Even as an experienced advisor, I made some of the same mistakes and dealt with many of the same problems I was helping my clients overcome. Many of those problems are specific to women who find themselves divorced, widowed, or raising a family as a single parent. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce, according to wife.org. Although no one plans to be divorced, it happens. Because pension and retirement benefits are not automatically split in a divorce, it’s important to have a financial advisor or a Certified Divorce Specialist to offer valuable information on marital property, negotiating an agreement, and getting a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).
Widowhood is a challenge for many families, and for most married women it is inevitable. Women are likely to outlive their husbands by as many as 15 years. According to wiserwoman.org, a third of women who become widowed are younger than age 60, and half of all women who will become widowed will become so by the age of 65. The financial realities of widowhood leave a woman and her family with a drop in income and often with very little life insurance due to a lack of preparation.
Women now hold almost 50% of all corporate management positions and control more than half of the private wealth in America. Prudential’s 2014- 2015 study, “Financial Experience & Behaviors among Women” reveals that while women are taking control of household finances, they are no more prepared to meet long-term financial goals than they were a decade ago. Unless women make a decision to become financially savvy, money and the problems that come with it can overwhelm even the savviest. Women often find themselves confused, wondering what financial products to buy or trying to understand every investment. But emphasis should first be on how your financial life can be improved, or what your financial problems are and how they can be solved. In order to become a Savvy Woman of financial means, here are five things every woman needs to know:
1. A Savvy Woman doesn’t wait for a crisis to occur and say “OMG, why didn’t I…?” She prepares ahead of time for events such as divorce, widowhood, disability, or the need for long-term care.
Transitional events involving money can occur in any woman’s life. The key is to have a plan before these things happen. Ask yourself these questions: How much life insurance does my family have? Who is the owner of the life insurance? What would happen in the event of a disability? Do we have long-term care insurance to handle a long-term stay in rehabilitation or a nursing home? Who will assist at home if unable to take care of the basic personal tasks of everyday life?
2. A Savvy Woman thinks beyond being an employee. Her plans are to build wealth through investments and to use her strengths and gifts to become an entrepreneur.
A Savvy Woman is wise with money and doesn’t spend frivolously. Her goals and visions for her life are clear, and she thinks about them daily. It doesn’t matter where you are financially; your vision can be that of a Savvy Woman who wants to build wealth. For your vision to come true, you must prepare, study and understand what investing and building wealth is all about. You know that in order to build wealth, you must begin saving and investing, no matter how small the amount, and you avoid debt unless it can increase your net worth over time. Building a business is your ultimate desire.
3. A Savvy Woman thinks past limiting beliefs and has the power to effect change in her life.
No matter what has happened in the past financially, you can become savvier about money and effect change in your life. It’s never too late. Change begins first within your mind, one step at a time. Once you have established goals, you always have them in front of you, serving as your motivation.
4. A Savvy Woman knows she must do it for herself in order to take care of herself.
A Savvy Woman doesn’t wait for action to be initiated for her in order to provide for her future. She has a take-charge attitude toward her longterm financial goals, even though she may be supported financially by her spouse. A savvy mother who stays home with her family takes care of the household finances, is the owner of life insurance for herself and her spouse, and makes sure there is an Individual Retirement Plan dedicated for her.
5. A Savvy Woman doesn’t hesitate to collaborate with others about money.
A good strategy for Savvy Women is to establish a trusting relationship with a financial professional, an estate planning attorney and a Certified Public Accountant. It also makes good sense to collaborate with others who are like-minded and have built wealth, and to learn from them. They can be a source of referrals and encourage you on your journey toward building wealth and realizing your dreams. Bottom line, the goals of a Savvy Woman is to have enough money to maintain her lifestyle during unexpected life events, retirement and for her family.
Advance Financial Lighthouse, Inc.
2200 MNW 50th St, Suite 110E
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Ofc (405) 843-2380 Fax (405) 843-6886
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Securities, Insurance and Investment Advisory Services are offered through FSC Securities Corporation, Member FINRA/ SIPC and a registered investment advisor. Certain Insurance offered through Advance Financial Lighthouse, Inc., which is not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.