Nine out of ten women will be faced with handling their finances at some point in their lives. The difference between women who are financially independent and those who will struggle to get up to speed is the women who are financially independent took an active role in the management of their finances.
If you are not as financially independent as would like to be consider these 5 steps that you can take to become more active in your finances and create your own financial plan.
1. Learn about Personal Finance- Don’t feel like you have to become a financial guru but you should understand the basics. That means you need to understand the basics about Insurance (Life, Health, Disability, Long-Term Care), Retirement Savings and Estate Plans. There are classed you can take online, at your library, or local college that will cover these topics. If you prefer a self-study method there are a lot of books you can read. Also, if you have a partner who would like to learn more a about finance the two of you might enjoy learning together.
2. Get Up To Speed on Your Household Finances- Just, as you need to understand the basics of personal finances you should know have an understanding of your household finances. Familiarize yourself with the types of insurance you have, make a note of who you would need to call in the event of something happening. Review your retirement savings and any other investments you have. This can include your bank accounts and bill pay also. If you have an estate plan you should review your will and other estate documents to make sure you understand how they are written and who is listed as beneficiaries.
3. Consider working with a Financial Advisor- A good Financial Advisor will teach you the basics as you work together and they will want you to feel educated as well as involved in the process. Also, they will be a good resource for you as you work to get up to speed on your personal finances.
- Better yet, Consider working with a Certified Financial Planner- A Certified Financial Planner ™ can assist you with so much more than investing. They can help you with budgeting, education planning, paying off student loans, saving for retirement, helping you assess your risks and better manage them. A CFP® will take a comprehensive look at your finances and will educate you with ways to best manage them.
- Many Financial Advisors call themselves “financial planners”. However, CFP® professionals have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They know how to make recommendations that are in your best interest. Check out CFP.net for more on the certification. You can also visit CastleWealthAdvisors.net/CFPDifference for more information.
4. Get Organized- Working with your partner (if you have one) and financial advisor (should you choose to work with one), organize your financial paperwork. Start with:
· Birth Certificates
· Marriage Certificate
· Bank and Brokerage Accounts
· Property Titles and Deeds
· Insurance Policies
· Bills and Debts
· Estate Documents (will, trusts, power of attorney, etc.)
5. Stay Current for Earning Potential- Consider side jobs or ways that you would earn additional income should you have to. If you are currently working keep an up to date resume and stay current with skills that employers are looking for. Maintain professional contacts and continue to network.
Taking a more active role in your finances can help you to feel more secure and give you more confidence in your abilities to manage your finances. Remember you can go at your own pace and ask for help where you need it. This process is as much about self-development as it about finance.