I am often annoyed at the articles and interviews that position women in a very ugly light when it comes to money. We are often depicted as dumb, flighty, air-headed and out of control. If you were to “Google” books about women and money, there are numerous ones in the marketplace to “help us” get a grip on what we need to do in our financial life. Some of them are very helpful, some are not. But, on the flip side of things, if you search for books about Men and Money, the results are dismal. The reality-men are viewed as having it all together, women are not.
Why is that? In a recent survey, results showed that 65% of men make all of the financial decisions in their home without any or limited input from their spouse. Time and time again I see the impact this has on a woman. I have sat down with many distraught women who seek out my guidance after going through a divorce or when they suffer the loss of their spouse. I have had to teach them how to write a check, balance their checkbook, and pay a utility bill-simply because their husbands handled it all. We are the caregivers, the nurturers, the listeners…but we are also the ones that allow ourselves to lose our independence. Why is that? I still try to understand that myself.
I have been blessed to have had conversations with hundreds of amazing women, hearing their stories, laughing with them, crying with them and helping them define their new lives. Regardless of what ‘life event’ gives me the opportunity to meet with a woman: divorce, the loss of their spouse, a health issue, loss of a job, or an event that has drastically affected their lives; many are in a ‘fog’. They try to make sense of what just happened. They ask themselves: how does this affect me? Where do I go from here? And for some women, the thought of doing ANYTHING is overwhelming, so they allow themselves to stay stuck, and choose to do nothing. Our Decisions Define Our Lives. Choosing to do nothing IS a decision.
There are 3 Common Traps women fall into that you need to be aware of:
Many women try to maintain the peace in every relationship. We don’t like to hurt people’s feelings and we certainly don’t want anyone to ever be upset with us. This could devastate your financial life. I have met widows and divorcees who are so afraid to move from their current financial advisor because they are a ‘peacemaker’. They fear hurting their feelings or not fulfilling the working relationship their husband originally put in place. Do not allow a relationship with an unproductive advisor outweigh planning your retirement based on your goals & needs.
2) I Own What!?!
Get Involved! Just like an ostrich buries its head in the sand to hide, many women are completely unaware of their current financial situation. It is important to know what you own, why you own it and how it fits into your overall financial plan. It is vital to understand that your investments need to correspond with your financial ‘stage’ in life. There are certain strategies that may have worked perfectly when you were working and accumulating your nest egg, but those same strategies may not work as you move into retirement.
3) The Wonder Woman Effect
As students of life we, as women, are doctors, counselors, friends and nurturers. We put everyone and everything in the forefront and worry about ourselves last. In all of our closets, we have a cape that we tie on and fly out the door every time anyone needs us. Some of the ‘Wonder Women’ I have met focus their attention on everything and anything except themselves. One day they wake up, they are facing retirement and realize how quickly time sped by. It dawns on them that by not paying attention to their own financial life, they are nowhere near where they thought they would be by this stage in life! It’s important to hang up the cape every once in a while, check in to make sure you are on the right track…financially, spiritually & physically-if you aren’t, ask the questions and make the changes necessary. Put yourself on your To-Do list!
To learn more from this author, click here (Jennifer Calandra).
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