How to Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with your Financial Soulmate
Dating and asking the tough money questions are key to success
Women today are busier than ever before. Peek at any woman’s planner and you’ll find meetings, errands, workouts, date nights and more competing for her time. But, what you sometimes don’t see is a date with a financial representative.
From not finding the one to not knowing how to start the relationship, there can be lots of reasons why women may not make time to meet with a financial representative. However, penciling in appointments with a financial expert, even just once or twice a year, can help right track your financial goals.
By meeting with a financial representative, you can become more financially confident and uncover small money management changes that could make a big difference. This handy how-to guide can help you find your financial soul mate and ask the right money questions to help you achieve your short- and long-term financial goals.
How do I find the one?
Just like a life partner, when it comes to choosing a financial representative, it’s important to find the one you’re comfortable sharing your financial future with. It’s okay if it takes a couple of tries to find the right match. Ask your friends and colleagues for referrals, or better yet, to make an introduction for you.
Most importantly, remember there’s no one right way for finding your fit. For example, while you may have the same trainer at the gym as your friend, that trainer could have a completely different approach for each of you. It all depends on your personal goals and what works and feels best. Personally, I have several female clients who choose to work with me because they say they feel more comfortable talking to another woman about financial topics.
There may come a time when a financial planning breakup becomes necessary. If you’re not getting what you need from your financial representative, it’s okay to end the relationship. Test the waters with other options until you find someone who fits more closely with what you’re looking for.
How do I do more with less?
In the United States, the wage gap persists. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women earn 80 cents to every dollar made by men. This means we start out at a disadvantage, as we likely won’t earn as much capital as our male counterparts. Among other reasons, this makes it crucial to invest early – and wisely – to achieve your financial goals.
The right financial advisor should work with you to balance five financial basics: save, spend, grow, protect and give.
- Save what you need to cover the expenses of today, along with potential surprises, while you prepare for the lifestyle you want in the future.
- Spend your budget wisely to afford the necessities, strategically eliminate debts and still have disposable income to use as fun money.
- Invest your hard-earned money and watch it grow, providing you with the funds you need to make the life you want.
- Protect your assets – your loved ones, the money you’ve accumulated and your future income — with risk and insurance products that fit your situation.
- Set aside money and time to give back to causes that matter to you.
How do I set myself up for long-term success?
Now that you’re on your way to mastering the basics, work with a financial expert to strengthen your plan for long-term success. Finances can seem confusing, but missteps often happen out of a lack of knowledge, not intelligence.
I’ve personally observed in both single and dual income households, women tend to be the CFOs of their families; they’re tracking what’s coming in as well as what’s going out. And yet, 50 percent of single women report having moderate to severe anxiety when it comes to their personal financial security, according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2016 Planning and Progress Study.
A financial representative can help alleviate some of this stress, teaching you to create a budget you can live with, leverage capital to create a long-term plan and ensure you feel more control over financial obligations like day-to-day bills.
How should I navigate unexpected money madness?
Women are more risk averse. We want to make sure we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s so we’re prepared, no matter what life throws at us. This tendency can save some financial heartache down the road.
Still, there’s no life lived where some financial hardship isn’t experienced. That’s why it’s important to live by design and not default in those situations. If you become ill or experience a health emergency, it can be easier to navigate with the proper plan in place.