Women as Savvy Investors – yes you!!
With 80-90% of women ending up managing their own finances at some point in their lives, becoming a savvy investor can never start too soon. Understanding your role and clarifying your goals are the first steps in taking charge of your finances. It is so important to understand that you are responsible for your money not anyone else. I speak with women all the time who feel that their ignorance of money and finance disqualifies them from ever asking questions or taking on an active role in managing money. Granted, initially it may be an overwhelming task, but like anything else in life, one step at a time, in a forward motion gets you going and keeps you going towards reaching your goals.
So what am I here to share with you today? I wanted to give you some insight as to some of the first steps you should take in becoming a savvy investor. As I mentioned before you need to understand the role you will play in this process and the goals you want to achieve. Your role may very well be a passive one in managing your finances. If you have a spouse, an advisor or someone in the family who has managed your money for you, that’s fine. However, you should ask questions and request to become more involved in understanding the strategy and focus of the account. Don’t take no for an answer! I hear this all the time “I am made to feel so stupid when I ask questions” or “I don’t understand the answers so why ask the questions”. Ahh!! This is your money; this is your financial future. If you are made to feel incompetent or the individual lacks patience in teaching you – fire them! Obviously, if it’s your spouse or your uncle that may be hard; however what I mean is, explain that you want to better understand the strategy of the account and if they can’t respect your wishes, find an advisor you’re comfortable with and start your own portfolio. The goals for this account will matter greatly and so an honest conversation with the individual you are hiring should establish the parameters of how the funds will be invested. An ongoing relationship that allows you to learn in an open manner is priceless, so respect the person you’re working with by setting rules and roles for both of you to follow.
As you expand your involvement here are some topics you must discuss and know from your spouse or the person managing your family’s finances, if you have been passive all these years. Ask what your net worth is. This measure that takes the total value of your assets (what you own) and subtracts from it the total value of your liabilities (what you owe) should be positive and growing. You will also want to know where all the investments are being held and who do you need to contact in an emergency to access these funds. Do you and your spouse have life insurance? In which case again, where and who do you need to know? Before I go on I will tell you ladies that most men do find this line of questioning very intimidating and may get quite irate from it. Others will be totally relieved that you are finally taking some action in protecting yourself in case they can’t take care of you. Be prepared that the response you may get may not be what you expect it to be.
I strongly encourage women of all ages to get involved and start by taking the first steps towards becoming a savvy investor by asking questions, looking over what you already have and finding someone you are comfortable talking to in helping you on this learning curve. It’s never too late to get going.