Many of the women we read about and admire are those who have conquered personal fears. By first facing, then boldly overcoming their fears, they were able to take their service, passion, and philanthropy to new heights.
Apprehension continues to hinder some women today, including fear of financial matters. Not understanding financial options can cause inaction or procrastination, and both can mean financial disaster. If this applies to you, perhaps it’s time to arm yourself with knowledge so you can begin facing your financial fears. This is especially important because today women are living longer (the life expectancy for an American female is just under seventy-nine according to the CDC), yet often they are financially unprepared. If you are age forty and older, you might know from a generational standpoint that few conversations took place about girls and women handling money, and training was often nonexistent. Also our plates were full with supporting others through the years, so most of us seldom took time to consider our own needs and fears. It’s time for women to face one of life’s biggest concerns – fear of financial insecurity – and to explore options that can help put them on the path to financial security. Following are two ways you may be able to start.
Retirement plans. Contributing to employer-sponsored retirement plans is wise, and now, more popular than ever are combinations of pre- and post-tax options, which are called 401(k)s and ROTH 401(k)s. Starting with a three percent contribution will have little effect on your take-home pay. However, three percent just gets you started and won’t be adequate for retirement, so fortunately it’s easy to go online and increase the amount periodically as your lifestyle allows. Because many women tend to be conservative, a blend of financial options may be best. When choosing funds, most plans have built-in tools with straightforward questions that point you in an investment direction. Many plans also have some financial advisory components, so make the call and spend fifteen minutes getting a different view of what your investment mix could look like.
Long-term planning. Women’s needs for long-term planning and protection are different, so open communication with your spouse is important when making financial decisions as a couple. Some type of long-term care is probably in your future as a couple, and statistics show that the wife most likely will care for her husband. If she needs care later, finances may be tapped and outside sources may be needed, which greatly changes her financial landscape. Proper insurance planning will help make sure retirement can be enjoyed without holding back for future what-ifs.
Women renowned in history took steps to face their fears. Let’s do the same and create legacies, both personally and financially, that we can be proud of. One day, perhaps our children and grandchildren will consider us one of the greats as well.