7 Steps Women Should Take for Strong Financial Planning
Too often, women are pushed to the fringe of financial planning – for their families and themselves. But financial planning has a huge impact on life, so it’s important for women to be informed, educated, and involved in your finances.
Looking to take control of your own financial life? Here are seven steps every woman should take for strong financial planning.
Step 1: Establish Your Financial Identity
It’s surprisingly common for women to lack a financial identity of their own. Building your own financial identity starts with getting your name on your bank accounts, and/or opening one solely in your name. You can also build a financial identity by getting a credit card in your name, and opening your own retirement accounts.
This doesn’t mean you should give up all joint accounts, but make sure your name is on them. Building a financial record and your own credit score is vital. And having accounts that are only in your name help you create a strong financial identity, which will be helpful down the road if your life or circumstances change. After all, 90% of women end up managing assets on their own at some point during their lifetime.
Step 2: Determine Your Financial Goals
Before taking any further steps for your finances, you need to decide what your financial goals actually are. There are no wrong answers here – but you need to decide what you want to work towards. Are you looking to buy a house, save for retirement, pay off debt, or build an emergency fund?
Getting specific on your goals is very helpful – setting a vague goal to “save more money” or similar will lead to more frustration than satisfaction, because you won’t have a real way to track your progress and celebrate your wins.
Step 3: Develop a Strategy to Achieve Your Goals
Now that you have your goals in mind, how are you planning to achieve them? This is a step where working with a financial professional can be helpful. If you think financial advisors only work with clients with huge assets, that’s not true – you can find fee-based advisors who will work with you to manage whatever assets and financial situation you have, with no minimums, while you get started.
Your strategy should be clear and realistic – if you decide to aim to save $500/month when you usually only have $200 leftover after bills and typical spending, you’ll probably get discouraged and give up quickly.
Your strategy should include a plan for things like setting and sticking to a realistic budget, investing to build wealth and plan for the future, and retirement planning as well. Setting your intentions and plan for the present to build yourself a better future is what financial planning is truly about.
Step 4: Participate in Your Financial Decisions
Women often are intimidated by financial decisions and planning – isn’t it easier to just leave it up to someone else who knows more, like a spouse or financial advisor? But taking an active role in your financial life is important. This is especially true for long-term goals like investing, where too many people find it complicated and leave the planning to someone else.
You want to know what’s happening in your own financial life, and how it will impact your dreams and goals. Don’t leave it all to someone else, or you may get an unpleasant surprise down the road.
Step 5: Monitor Your Plan in Action
Once your plan is in place, don’t just set it and forget it – plan to maintain and update it regularly. Keep an active eye on your progress in saving and investing. It can be helpful to set aside time every month or quarter to review what you’ve accomplished, what goals are on track, and what plans need adjustment.
Maybe you had some unexpected expenses and need to build your savings back up, or perhaps you’re ahead of schedule and can contribute more to paying off debt. Monitoring can also be positive: it’s exciting to check and see you’ve made huge progress towards an important goal. Knowledge is power – so keep on top of what’s going on in your financial life.
Step 6: Re-Evaluate Goals
It happens – your goals and life situation change over time. Maybe you have a child, or get a new job, or move in with or separate from a partner. That’s why you need to adjust your goals and your plan to get to those goals along the way.
It can be useful to sit down once or twice a year and look at the big picture of your financial life – what’s changed, and what does that mean for your finances? Have your goals or priorities shifted somehow? These changes can be huge, or small – they have an impact on your financial life just the same.
Step 7: Adjust Plans as Needed
Your financial plan isn’t something that’s set in stone. It changes along with you as you grow and change. Once you achieve a major goal – like buying a house or paying off student loans – you’ll want to celebrate your success and then adjust your plans to reflect this change. Or sometimes, you develop new priorities, like buying a bigger house because of the arrival of grandkids.
Your goals will change, because your life changes. So, make the needed adjustments as you go. Sitting back and hoping everything will sort itself out likely isn’t going to get you to the strong financial life and security you deserve.
3 Financial and Your Financial Future
It can be overwhelming to start thinking about how to take control of your financial life. You might not be sure of the best path to take, the right way to begin investing, or how to save while paying down debt. A financial planner can help you with all these tasks and provide a roadmap for taking strong control of your finances.
Finding an advisor you can trust is critical – finances are a sensitive subject for many of us, and our financial health has a huge impact on our life now and in the future. Plus, 3 Financial is woman-owned and operated, so you can expect to work with someone who understands your perspective and invites you to travel from the fringes of financial planning to the center, with no minimum investment needed
At 3 Financial, you’ll work with a Certified Financial Planner™, someone with formal education and experience in the fields that contribute towards providing sound financial decisions. Your experience will incorporate a tailored, holistic style of financial planning and investment management that begins with setting goals and then works toward achieving your life dreams.
Reach out today for more information.