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women in transition Archives -

Women Bridging the Retirement Gap

By | 2017, Money Moxie, Newsletter | No Comments

It’s true that women average longer life spans than men. What is often unknown, or in some cases marginalized, is that we will need a larger nest egg to provide income for those additional years. This requires creative planning. Not necessarily more risk; rather a more defined plan for using the money we have saved for retirement.

As women, we also tend to focus on quality of life. We value things that give us purpose and enjoyment: traveling, giving back to our community, or creating memories with our children and grandchildren. These ideals drive our financial goals and decisions while money helps us achieve them.

Women often feel insecure about their financial
decision-making abilities. Building financial confidence is important. We need to be educated and have a better understanding of the decisions that need to be made and the options available to meet our needs. Once we have financial confidence, we are committed to our plans. We have a real desire to stay on track to attain what we consider to be financial success.

Developing financial confidence is the foundation to financial success. This comes naturally from our financial experiences – good and bad. It can also come through an exerted effort and a desire to have more knowledge and a greater understanding. Here are three ways you can take control:

Get Educated: Rather than wait for the life lessons to take shape, make an effort to learn more. You can attend educational seminars in the evening. Caution advised, most seminars offering free meals etc. focus on selling you a product. Our seminars are designed to educate you regarding specific topics and concerns. If you are busy at work, watch an educational webinar while you have lunch or in the evening from home. Our website has a collection of resources focusing on women and their unique needs. You can find it by clicking on Women and Wealth from our home page at SmedleyFinancial.com. If you have additional questions or want information on a specific topic, give us a call. We have a library we can draw from to provide you with the resources you are looking for.

Create a Financial Plan: A financial plan focuses on your personal financial needs, goals, and current circumstances. No matter where you are financially, you need a plan to move forward. Women often start a financial meeting by saying, “I don’t have very much….” The truth is, the less you have, the more important every dollar becomes. A plan will help maximize the assets you have available, creating a clear path to your financial goals and direction that will help you circumvent potential roadblocks.

Design a Retirement Income Plan: Most women want to know, “How will I replace my paycheck when I retire?” A retirement income plan is just as important as, if not more important than, a financial plan. Making sure that our money lasts throughout our retirement years is essential. By the time we retire, few of us will have the luxury of picking up another job to provide additional income. If we overspend in the early years of retirement, we may impede the success of our plan long-term. The same can be said about taking too much or too little risk; the results can be devastating. An income distribution plan must be updated each year to evaluate our ability to maintain our desired lifestyle.

You have the resources and ability to take control of your financial future. I understand you are very busy. Still, I challenge you to take the next step. Find one topic you want to know more about. Visit our website, give us a call for resources, or attend a seminar or webinar to learn more. There is never a better time to begin a financial journey than today!

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Women in Transition: The Loss of a Spouse

By | 2017, Money Moxie, Newsletter | No Comments

One of the hardest life transitions women face is the loss of a spouse. Whether it is from death or divorce, picking up the pieces and moving forward is challenging – emotionally and financially.  One of the hardest life transitions women face is the loss of a spouse. Whether it is from death or divorce, picking up the pieces and moving forward is challenging – emotionally and financially.

Where there were shared responsibilities, suddenly you are in charge of everything from getting the car fixed to managing the daily budget and long-term financial plan. It can feel quite overwhelming. Not to mention, this transition comes at an incredibly emotional time.

Adjusting to your new conditions will not happen overnight and may actually take several years.  This is a time of profound self-discovery for women, who may find themselves examining issues of identity, life meaning, and aging. Creating a support group – family, friends, and professionals – gives you a pool of people you can use as a sounding board that will keep your “best interest” in mind when providing advice.

While there will be many things to tackle over the next year, here are some important things to do in the short-term:

Locate and organize your important documents and financial records. It is easy to overlook something when you are dealing with emotional stress. Having a system for gathering and organizing financial records can provide some sense of control.

Important financial documents and records are generally the first items to focus on. The bills still need to be paid and the cash flow needs to be managed.

  • Checking and savings accounts statements
  • Investment account statements
  • Retirement plan statements
  • Stock and bond certificates

Legal documents may need to be updated, reviewed, or available for reference. These include:

  • Will
  • Trust
  • Power-of-attorney
  • Medical directive

Other important papers should also be organized so that you can determine if adjustments need to be made, such as updating ownership records or beneficiaries. Some may be required for documentation as you make changes.

  • Social Security statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Marriage, birth, and death certificates
  • Property deeds
  • Ownership titles – vehicles and recreational equipment

Keep in mind that everything does not have to be done immediately. Gathering this information will allow you to set up a system for tracking important details. Keep a notebook or use a computer spreadsheet that you can easily access for account numbers, phone numbers and addresses, who to call for information on accounts, professional contacts, and deadlines to monitor.

After the initial legal and financial matters settle, you will begin adjusting to your new financial circumstances. As you move forward, remember that it may be two steps forward and one step back. Take comfort in knowing you are making the best decisions you can, financially and otherwise, for you and your family.

Remember, you are not alone. Even though you believe you can do it all, reach out to us as your trusted advisors. We can help you navigate this new landscape, avoid some of the pitfalls, give you advice, and be a sounding board as you make important decisions.

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Women in Transition

By | 2017, Money Moxie | No Comments

For women, it’s sometimes hard to balance the nurturing desire to take care of someone else when in reality, we may need to take care of ourselves. This is often true when facing life transitions. It’s at these times when we have to put ourselves first, at least, until we become comfortable with the change.

Throughout life, we face events that result in transition. Some are planned and some are unexpected. How we prepare for these events can help reduce some of the financial and emotional stress.

Over the next few Money Moxie® issues, we will discuss some important life transitions and provide guidance to help smooth out the bumps. In this issue, we will focus on women who have left the workforce and are now ready to jump back in.

Reentering the workforce
Women often follow a different path than men when it comes to a career. Many get a degree or special training and begin a career only to leave the workforce to raise a family or because their income is not necessary to the family’s financial situation.

While you have been off the career path, things have changed. Yes, remember that old fax machine? Well, for most companies it’s in the corner collecting dust. The business world has been moving forward at a breakneck pace; even those of us living in it day-to-day have a difficult time keeping up.

Software and websites you may have used just a few years ago have been updated and changed. Passwords are your new best (or worst) friend–and you need a separate one for each site. These should be changed every 90 days.

In order for you to reach your marketable potential, you are going to need to brush up on your skills. Find out what programs are in demand for the position you are seeking and learn more about them. Webinars and online tools make this relatively easy.

Getting paid what you are worth
Don’t sell yourself short. Make sure you are getting paid what you are worth. Check out websites that show average salary ranges or pay scales in your geographical location for your occupation. Know before you enter an interview how much you can expect to be compensated. Maybe it’s time to hone your negotiation skills.

Sing your own praises. Be prepared to articulate your strengths and specific achievements. Express the unique skills and qualities you bring to the table. Avoid the temptation to accept the first salary or pay offered–be prepared to counteroffer.

Be sure to consider other tangible and intangible benefits such as: bonuses, career opportunities, flexible schedule, and supportive culture.

Maximize your benefits
As a woman who has been out of the workforce, you may have some catching up to do when it comes to retirement savings. Employees are often told to get the maximum company match, which is good. Think bigger!

While the match is a great benefit, that alone may not be enough for you to reach your financial goals and live comfortably in your retirement years. Seek professional advice regarding your future retirement picture and invest with purpose and an achievable goal.

Talk to one of our wealth advisors; we can provide guidance regarding your personal situation and the options available to you.

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