Gain Control Of Your Financial Future NOW

 Financial tips to help women take control of their financial future.

Today's post is by Renee Cohen, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. Interested in writing for Verbal Courage?

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Despite the fact that women have made enormous gains in educational attainment and professional advancement in the last several decades, a wage gap still exists. 

Some facts about the wage gap:

Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,470 less per year in median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged.

Based on today’s wage gap, a woman who worked full time, year round would typically lose $418,800 in a 40-year period. This woman would have to work more than ten years longer to make up this lifetime wage gap. These lost wages severely reduce women’s ability to save for retirement.

As a result of lower lifetime earnings and different work patterns, the average Social Security benefit for women 65 and older is about $14,044 per year, compared to $18,173 for men of the same age.

Women & Money:

Women face a number of challenges ahead of retirement due to factors such as longer life expectancies, lower average wages and a larger share of caregiving responsibilities. On average, they put aside less of their pay compared to men. Recent research has found that women tend to lack financial confidence, but underestimate their financial strengths.  While 82% of women are confident in managing their day-to-day budgeting, their confidence slips when it comes to longer term financial planning.  While most women are confident they can balance a checkbook or manage the family budget without help, they are less confident regarding planning for their financial needs during retirement or selecting the right financial investments.

Together we can change some of those habits and empower each other to get on a confident & profitable path to abundance.  You can find tremendous freedom and clarity by intentionally managing your finances in a fulfilling, proactive way. 

5 tips to be in control of your financial future:

1)      Have a Vision

Too many women underestimate how much financial success is possible.  The financially-savviest women set money goals—in both the short and long term.  “If you don’t know where you are going, it's that much harder to know how you are going to get there”.  Taking active steps toward achieving your goals is what’s critical to your feelings of security and peace of mind.  It is also important to analyze your financial behaviors.  Ask why aren’t you taking action? Are there triggers that cause to spend more?

2)      Live Within Your Means

Money smart women have systems in place to understand how much they are spending on a monthly basis.  You should know what it costs to run your life, including your fixed expenses and how you are spending discretionary money.  When you are financially aware, it will be easier to make choices down the road, such as making job changes, being able to afford major purchases.  They also automate their savings - women can build up a nest egg without even thinking about it by automating their savings and use their credit cards wisely. 

3)      Protect Your Income

Your ability to earn an income is hugely important. Women should consider locking in supplemental disability coverage, above and beyond what your employer might provide, because that provides income if you ever became sick/ injured and unable to work. Unfortunately, about 1 in 4 of people will become disabled before they retire so having income protection is not a bad idea and when it is affordable.

4)      Invest

Most of us will never be financially successful without the compound returns offered by stock market investing.  If you don’t invest, you are leaving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars on the table. Don’t cheat yourself by putting off investing. Getting started is much more important than being perfect and trusted financial professionals can help you make it less scary than you might think.

5)      Know Your Salary Worth

Negotiating salary isn’t easy, and it can be especially difficult for women. In general, women are less likely to ask for more money.  Before you even think about negotiating salary, it’s important to know how much you expect to earn. Do your homework and research the average salary for your job type, level, and industry in your particular location.  You can also talk to peers and mentors about strategies they have used.  You should also practice your pitch by participating in mock negotiations to help you better understand what works and makes you feel more prepared for the real thing.


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