Professional woman with man in the background

What Happens When You Decide to Earn More

You have decided to earn more money. Once you have made that committed decision, three things will happen:

  • There Will Be Coincidences
    • Decisions are like magnets, they draw opportunities to you. All you need to do is take advantage of the coincidences when they occur.
  • Other Areas of Your Life Will Change
    • You can’t make changes in one aspect of your life and expect everything else to remain the same. Sometimes the changes are positive while others are negative. Keep in mind that change is inevitable and will lead to bigger and better things.
  • You Will Resist
    • Anytime you set a goal or make a decision to do something different, you create a gap between where you are now, and where you want to go. This gap creates resistance. Be aware that you are resisting and use the tension to push you forward.

Barbara Stanny, Secrets of Successful High Earners

Do you find these events happening as you make changes in your finances? I’d love to hear some feedback! Post on Facebook.

female working on her finances

The Female Brain

All human brains have reflective and reflexive thinking. However, the way the female brain is structured makes women tend to be more focused on care-giving, passing on money and life values to the next generation, and using wealth to better the community as a whole. The three areas of the brain that will be discussed are the Amygdala and Limbic System, Hippocampus, and Corpus callosum:

Amygdala and Limbic System: The Amygdala is the center for emotion, fear, and aggression. It is located in the Limbic System and is the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight response. The female brain’s limbic system is typically larger than the male’s. Scientists hypothesize that the larger limbic system contributes to women being more compelled to care for others.

Hippocampus: This part of the brain is the center of emotion and memory formation. This section of the brain is larger in women than men and accounts for a woman’s ability to remember specific details. The larger hippocampus also could contribute to some women wanting their Financial Advisors to remember personal details about their life.

Corpus Callosum: This part of the brain transmits signals and connects the left and the right side of the brain. Women have more connections between the left and right hemispheres, making them excellent at multitasking and verbal communication.

Kingsbury, How to Give Financial Advice to Women

Do you have any past experiences that reflect the new information you just learned about your brain?

Retired couple gardening

Why Women are Less Decisive

Women worry more about their financial health but lag in decision-making and self-confidence:

This difference in self-confidence has an enormous impact on the financial planning industry. A LPL Financial “Women Invest White Paper” survey shows that 67% women want an equal role in financial decision making and only approximately 20% want their husbands to make all the decisions. Yet, data shows less than two-thirds of women actually attain an equal role in financial decision-making (note: financial decision-making here refers to “big ticket item decisions,” not grocery shopping level daily or weekly decisions).

An ideal advisor will listen to both women and men – regardless of the gender of the financial decision-maker – and will avoid being patronizing toward both women and men if they lack financial understanding. Women prefer to work with female advisors, when possible. Although women comprise more than half the financial planning/investment clients in this country, fewer than one-quarter of Certified Financial Planners® (or other credentialed advisors) are female.

Kaplan, Women and Money: Why They Avoid Risk and Lack Confidence when Making

Don’t feel patronized or left out of your financial future. Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed, let’s talk about how I encourage women to take on a greater role in the decision making process. Contact me today.

Are Your Goals De-Motivating You?

Boomer Couple in Front of Their Beach House

As women we are often encouraged to write goals, goals that usually pertain to numbers. The problem is most women are not driven by numbers alone. For many the numbers can simply become a distraction or a deterrent to growth. Knowing what it is you want to achieve in life and what that life looks like can be a more powerful motivator for women. Once you know that vision of where your life will be you can then gently back into the plan, breaking it down into achievable stages in life and then break it down to the numbers, if that works for you. As a woman, start with a vision of where you want to go with your life, keep that vision clear, focused and realistic, this will help inspire greater progress and on-going motivation.

If you could wipe the slate clean and create the life you really want, what would it look like?

Debt and Your Financial Health

Boomer women glowing
Most people believe that any debt is detrimental to their financial health. However, some types of debt aren’t bad – a mortgage, college loans, or business loans. These types of loans appreciate in value in your future. Bad debt is money that you owe for things that you no longer benefit from; try to eliminate these debts.

There are ways to change your financial situation. Use a spending chart to record how you are using your money. Write down everything you spend and where your money goes to. To reduce debt, look at your nonessential expenses and decide which ones you can remove. Limiting the way you use your credit card can help with your spending.

You can avoid the legal consequences of bad debt by resolving your debt before it becomes overwhelming. Start planning now. Repaying the debts you have accrued will not happen overnight. However, if you control your spending and attain professional help, you will resolve your financial problems over time.

(Morris, A Woman’s Guide to Personal Finance)

Money Issues Across Your Life Cycle

Some women are co-breadwinners while others are the only source of income. Throughout a woman’s life, she will experience many money issues unique to women. A woman may experience the following situations: lower earnings, lack of retirement planning, divorce, and fewer years in the workplace because of child-rearing or caring for older parents. Many of these issues can work against a woman’s ability to accumulate money and attain stable financial status.

Lower Lifetime Earnings

As a population, women generally earn a lower income than their male counterparts. The Equal Pay Act that passed in the 1960s was supposed to narrow the earning gap between men and women, yet a gender pay gap still exists today. Women who work full-time year-round still are paid 77% of a man’s pay ($37,000 for a woman compared to $48,000 for a man in 2009) (U.S. Census Bureau 2012). Inequities start early and worsen over time. Research has shown a 5% difference one year after college graduation and a 12% difference after 10 years. The only identified explanation for the unexplained gaps was gender discrimination (Arnst 2007; Boushey, Aarons, and Smith 2010).

Breaks in Career

Women are more likely to have gaps in their work years because of child-rearing (Duke 2010). Some women may leave their jobs for extended periods of time to go on maternity leave. Other women make the choice to stay home for an extended time, reentering the job market years later. During child-rearing years, some women may leave careers behind and choose to work part-time or find a job with hours that match closely with children’s school schedules. As a result, upon retirement age, women’s income and Social Security benefits are often lower than those of their male counterparts.
Women need to pay attention to any employer retirement plan or matched contributions that may have been a job benefit. Find out about retirement or savings before you leave the job. If money is invested in a retirement plan, can it stay until you are ready to retire? What are the options?

Divorce

The divorce rate in the United States is estimated at 36%–50% (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). In general, divorce creates a financial disaster for families and may leave a woman to raise children using less money. Spending may likely need to change when a divorce occurs. It is important to review monthly expenditures and establish a budget. Since cash flow may drastically change and not be the same from week to week, continue to review income and expenses. Depending on the number of years a woman was married, she may be entitled to part of her husband’s retirement income. Be sure all financial issues are revealed and resolved during divorce proceedings.

Care of Elderly Parents

Another family obligation that may interfere with building wealth is caring for an elderly or ailing parent or other family member. Women tend to be the major caregivers for sick or older parents. Some women may take a career break or retire early to attend to the full-time care of a family member. Even if a woman continues to work, caring for the family member may become a financial burden.

Widowhood

As women age, the likelihood of living alone increases. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), among those 65 and older, 44% of women were married, compared to 75% of men. Widowed women account for approximately 40% of women 65 and older, but only 13% of men 65 and older are widowed (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). The average age of widowhood is 55 years old (U.S. Census Bureau 2010). A spouse’s death is not only emotionally exhausting, but also will likely end with financial consequences.

Lack of Retirement Planning

As a whole, women tend to focus less on planning for their retirement over the course of their career, having saved less for retirement than men. Because women are often the caregivers for the family, taking steps to ensure their financial future may take a backseat when other events occur.
Women are reluctant to taking risk. When women do put money into a retirement fund, it is often a conservative investment that earns lower interest rates than their male counterparts. Try to research investments and identify your best options.

What You Can Do to Prepare Yourself

Women can improve their financial status and retirement income. Financial planning and learning about investing are the first steps on the road to financial independence. Time is on your side when you start early. Small amounts of money saved and invested over time add up to a secure financial life.

(U.S. Census Bureau 2010)

Women, Money and Emotions

Women can be notorious for making financial decisions based on emotions. It can be as simple as splurging on a new dress or purse that may not be a fiscally sound decision but “you just had to have it!” Or more serious events like leaving substantial money on the table when experiencing a divorce or financial separation. These decisions are often motivated by guilt or to avoid further conflict, and often create a serious and long-term impact on a woman’s financial future.

While not all emotional decisions have a negative impact recognizing your tendency to make financial decisions based on emotions, it can help you navigate more serious issues with greater care.
What was the last emotional decision you made with money? What impact did it have on your financial situation?

The Bag Lady Syndrome

Many women worry about ending up destitute and in the streets in their senior years. This is the bag lady syndrome; it often stems from lack of confidence in knowing how to make and manage money. The bag lady syndrome ranges from women who have a lot of money to women who have a highly emotional relationship with money. To build up confidence you must explore your money mindset. What is your thought or belief about money and its purpose in the world? Your money mindset ultimately dictates how you save, spend, invest, and gift daily.

Source: Kingsbury, How to Give Financial Advice to Women

Why women worry more

Women worry more about the effect of money on relationships:
A survey by Camden Wealth and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management shows that a staggering 79% of younger (“next-generation”) ultra wealthy women are concerned their wealth will complicate relationships with spouses, partners, friends and colleagues. Only 22% of wealthy men shared these concerns. I believe the same conclusions can be drawn for women and men in all income and net worth brackets.

Avoid Holiday Spending

Despite meticulous planning, the holidays are the time when most consumers do the most damage to their debt loads by buying presents for family and friends now and figuring out how to pay for them later.

Here are some tips to help you avoid overspending during the holiday season.

Get over the guilt

Are you buying that gift because you haven’t spent enough time with that recipient? Are you trying to make up for something you’re feeling bad about? It’s important to ask yourself if spending a surplus of money on a gift is really going to help you achieve the goal of gift-giving in the first place.

Set a budget, spend within it

It is crucial to establish a budget BEFORE you go shopping. Don’t spend more than you can pay back in one month. You’ll still have to pay your regular bills just like the other 11 months of the year plus all those added holiday expenses.

Always pay for purchases with a debit card

If you can’t pay with debit, you can’t afford it.

Don’t let a gift put a value on you

Consumers value themselves based on their spending choices. People become consumed in what they believe they’re expected to purchase. Think about what you can afford. What is the meaning and value behind your gift? The gift may not cost much, but may be worth more to the recipient than the price.

Put meaning into your gift

Donating to a charity of your choice in a loved one’s name is a fantastic way to show you care while staying within your budget. Research a charity or organization that holds special meaning to your recipient and honor them while helping somebody else in need.

Start the New Year right

Create a monthly expense budget and examine what you’re actually spending each month. Set your spending and saving goals early in the year.

Did you put these tools to use during your holiday shopping? Did you implement any other money saving tools? I’d love to hear back from you.
Source: Keltie, 5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Overspending