When it comes to women and money, there is some good news, says Lance Drucker, ChFC, CLU, a veteran financial professional.
On average, women are more independent and financially literate than ever before, he says. On the other hand, Prudential’s eighth biennial study titled Financial Experience & Behavior Among Women recently revealed that women are no more likely to make sound financial decisions today than two years ago – or even when the study began 10 years ago.
“When women are more involved with their own finances, they feel more in control of their independence and are generally happier, but many seem to suffer a disconnect between what they want in their financial future and their spending habits,” says Drucker, CEO and president of the New York City-based Drucker Wealth Management, (www.DruckerWealth.com), a firm that specializes in empowering women to make sound financial decisions.
“While most American women say having enough money to maintain their lifestyle throughout retirement was very important, only 14 percent of those polled said they were very confident that they’d achieve that goal.”
Drucker, author of “How to Avoid Bag Lady Syndrome (BLS): A Strong Woman’s Guide to Financial Peace of Mind,” offers some guidance on the steps women can take to help them not only feel empowered about their money, but actually take control of their financial future:
• Figuring out the cause of your Pain: Too many women really don’t want to look too deep as to why finances cause them so much stress – kind of like not getting on a scale because we really don’t want to see how much we weigh. Before we can come up with a solution to your financial problem, we need to figure out what the problem actually is: lack of income, growth, financial illiteracy…
• Budgeting vs. Louis Vuitton handbags. We all need to do or buy things that make us feel good, but we need to factor our indulgences into our overall life plan. Establishing a necessary budget (what we need just to get up in the morning) as well as an Aspirational budget (more of a wish list) will help guide your decision-making process as to what you can or can’t afford to do (including buying that “to die for” item).
• “I don’t know what I have;” Why a Balance Sheet is essential: Too many times our women clients have no idea what they have as far as financial resources, how their assets have performed, and how much they are paying for someone’s help. Creating a balance sheet, collecting all of your statements, and taking an accounting of your life gives you the data to start making smart decisions.
• Developing a Plan vs. the Wine and Dark Chocolate approach: Hoping things will just get better, or the chocolate-and-wine approach to life, does have its benefits (as my wife has explained to me on numerous occasions). Developing a written plan that lays out what you want financially and when you want it goes a long way toward peace of mind. The wine wouldn’t hurt while writing the plan though.
• The Gym Commandoes: There are two types of people who succeed at the gym: those do-it-your self folks who walk around with a little notebook like Rainman tracking their progress, or those who hire a coach/trainer. Both work. People who show up at the gym with a vague sense of “I’m gonna ride the bike, hit some weights, then take a really long steam,” typically don’t last. By now, you have done the work. You’ve figured out your pain, budget, balance sheet, and a plan … Now you have to implement the strategy, and this is where the fun begins!