Empowering Women

Empowering Women

Erica called me several months after her husband’s tragic death in a work-related accident. Within minutes I realized I was with an amazing woman: highly intelligent, in control and had lived her life in a financially sound way. With two children and another on the way, she was on a mission to tackle problems and initiate plans. These great strengths, however, almost derailed her in those early days of adjusting to widowhood. Her assertive confidence led her into a business venture she knew little about. It wasn’t long before this business venture turned into a money-losing proposition and she decided to seek help.

Liz was 48 when her husband’s sudden death left her fearful and broken. Having never touched money in her 25 years of marriage, she had no idea where to start. She came to my office with suitcases full of financial documents gathered from their home. It took almost a year to sort through the financial jungle that had to be cleared so she could begin making decisions with confidence.

These are just two of the many incredible women I have worked with over the years. And before you men tune out, I encourage you to read this article if you have any significant women in your lives. Ready or not, the vast majority of women will someday be compelled to play a more significant role in their financial life. Women are part of a growing and gender-shifting statistic. While men still out-earn women, women are controlling more and more purchasing decisions. With the average age of widowhood at age 56, and women projected to control trillions of dollars of wealth over the next decade, it is not a matter of “if” but “when” you — or a woman you care about — will be forced to navigate this financial maze.

Sadly, many women I speak with are meeting me for the first time in an emotionally diminished state. They have been thrust into this complex financial world as a result of a crisis or unexpected life event. It is as if they are being forced to speak a new language and navigate a foreign country they had no intention of ever visiting!

Experience tells me that women often approach financial matters quite differently from men. Different is not good or bad; different is just, well, different! I find women are often more goal-oriented and process-driven. They tend to make choices very carefully, ask a lot of questions, and avoid hasty moves. Incidentally, those traits also tend to serve them well over the long haul. Finally, women communicate about money differently than men. They tend to be more holistic and have deeply rooted emotions attached to financial decisions.

Women also face some unique challenges when planning for their financial future. Many have interrupted their careers to care for children or aging parents often resulting in earning less income than men in the same age group. As a result, their retirement accounts, pensions, and Social Security benefits are often lower. Women also tend to live longer than men and must stretch those resources over a longer span of time.

If you are a woman reading this, do you find money matters just too emotional to address? Are you intimidated by financial decisions or lack the confidence needed to make wise decisions? Are you afraid to make decisions because you have had no training? Are you just too busy to stop and prepare for this important part of life? You can do something about it! Burying your head in the sand and hoping it will go away is not the answer. Seek counsel and find non-threatening ways to become financially educated. Don’t be embarrassed if you have a lot of questions. I tell women the only “stupid” question is the one you are too intimated to ask!

With women earning more, inheriting more, and controlling more financial decisions, it is imperative that you — or the significant women in your life — be prepared for the responsibility that accompanies wealth management. Surround yourself with biblically-wise counsel from trusted advisors who share your world view. They will

help educate you and assist you with taking appropriate action at the appropriate time. As you take these steps, you will begin to develop more confidence in your decisions. And for you men who kept reading, don’t wait until there is a crisis to help ensure the significant women in your life are prepared to deal with this very critical part of life. Empower them!

Talk with us about your portfolio or financial plan here: Talk with an advisor

More Reading: Selecting a Financial Professional

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