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Weathering Financial Storms

man sailing on a large folder dollar bill boat on open seas with clear skiesA hurricane is coming. Outside the wind is swirling and the rain is coming down. Schools are closed tomorrow, and I just realized we are not prepared for the hurricane coming our way (possibly not coming our way, then coming our way and then not coming our way…). The point is, whether it comes our way or not, my family is not prepared to weather this storm.

I walk to the kitchen to check the water situation to find things are not good. Opening the pantry, I see the shelves are sparse since we have resumed eating out after being deprived during the virus scare. Our waistlines are here to prove it. I debate walking to the bathroom to check the TP situation but decide not to since we have already been through a toilet paper shortage scare. I’ll just let that be.

My thoughts are interrupted by the phone ringing, and my husband asks if we need anything from the grocery store. Where do I start? He groans and proceeds to the store as directed. I stop for a moment and literally say out loud, “What else am I and the women in my life not prepared for?”

Naturally my mind doesn’t turn to storms or terrible events, but to financial matters.

Financially Traditional Females

woman working on business/budgeting papers at a desk with colored pictures on the wall behind herI know that statistically, many women will end up managing their finances and liabilities alone at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the first time many women become involved with some financial matters is during a crisis, such as a spouse’s death or divorce.

According to a recent UBS study, 61% of Millennial women still leave investment decisions to their husbands. This surprised me. Women are more educated and successful than ever, so why are they unprepared in many aspects of their financial life? When we exist in a time where women control almost 39% of the country’s investable assets, why do they wait until a catastrophic event occurs to take control of their investments? More importantly, why do their husbands allow them to stay in the dark?

In this day and age, don’t let traditional ideas make conversations about money taboo for you and your partner.

Preparing for the Tough Questions

half of woman's head at bottom of image with black marker doodles coming out of her headI could go on and on with statistics and stories, but instead I’ve prepared a list of thought-provoking and easy financial questions for you to think on. It will be time well spent if you take time to talk with your financial advisor about the issues that specifically affect you and/or your family. In addition, review this list and determine which questions you have already asked along with what questions you have already addressed:

Asset Management

  • Do I have a clear picture of where my assets are located?
  • Will my retirement assets provide a comfortable and secure retirement for my life expectancy?
  • Do I have a well-diversified portfolio?
  • Are my investments appropriate in today’s economy?
  • Are my assets titled properly?
  • Do I have an emergency fund?
  • Am I taking advantage of techniques to reduce my taxes?

Estate Planning

  • Do I have a will?
  • Is my will current?
  • Have I determined what I will owe in estate taxes?
  • Have I funded my estate-tax liability?
  • Have I explored and taken advantage of wealth-transfer techniques?
  • Do I wish to provide for charitable giving?
  • Are my power of attorney, health care surrogate, and living will up to date?

Debt Management

  • Do I know my credit rating?
  • Could I get a loan if I applied?

Medical/Insurance Planning

Do I have enough insurance coverage?

  • Cover medical expenses?
  • Provide for disability/long-term care?
  • Provide for family members’ security?
  • Fund estate-tax liability?

Additional Important Financial Questions

With the use of these thought-provoking questions, I hope you find yourself making financial discussions a priority. Fortunately for the generations of women ahead, Millennials can begin to break the cycle and take control of their wealth.

December 2020

Information in this material is for general information only and not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. Please consult the appropriate professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation prior to making any financial decision.

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