Finding financial freedom

  1. Waiting for Prince Charming to come along. He may never come, or if he does come, he may be a frog. When it comes to money and financial security, best to take care of yourself first and not rely on someone else to take care of you. Many women end up in their 50's with no savings because they thought someone else was going to take care of them.
    Things you can do:

    -- Make career choices knowing that you will need to make a certain amount of money to live and to save. If you don't have the skills, go back to school or find other ways to get them ie internships etc.

    -- Make sure you are enrolled in your company retirement plan, or make annual contributions to IRAs. Establish a credit history for yourself. Have some household bills in your name, use credit cards wisely to establish a payment record.

    -- Learn about investing or hire a financial advisor. There are many resources: National Association of Fee Only Planners, Financial Planning Association.

  2. Not knowing anything about the family investment portfolio. Many women pay the bills in the household ,but know nothing about where the savings are or what they are invested in. Sit down with your husband or partner once a quarter and review your investment portfolio together so that you know what is going on with your household savings. If anything should happen to your partner, you will not have to panic when you are confused and grieving. Same goes for any Insurance you have bought…know where to find the policy and who to contact.

  3. Overspending on discretionary items. Women are bombarded daily with media messages that promote spending on clothing, beauty products and procedures and other discretionary items. Jewelry, handbags , shoes, designer clothes etc, all cost a lot of money and not many households cannot afford them. Set a budget for yourself, know what your spending limits are, and don't use credit cards to charge things you can't afford.

  4. Becoming a victim. Unfortunately there are always dishonest people out there who like to prey on people who are vulnerable. If you are widowed suddenly or inherit money, beware of who comes knocking to "help you." Do nothing in the first few months after a big financial life change and decide which is the best avenue for you to take - learn more yourself or hire a trusted advisor to help you. Learn about the different types of advisors out there- some advisors are paid by commission and sell products, some are paid fees for their advice and some charge a mixture of both. Find out how an advisor is compensated and it will tell you a lot about how they will advise you. Go with who you feel with give you advice that is good for you, not them. This includes your friendly local banker - they need to earn a living just like everyone else.

  5. Doing nothing. Lots of women don't want to think about money. When the monthly account statements come in the mail, they don't open them. They don't review their 401k Plan choices…they let cash sit in checking accounts collecting no interest or worse yet, fees. If you don't want to do it yourself because of no interest or no time, find a good financial advisor that can help you. It will be money well spent. The sooner the better.

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