March 7, 2021

Do you enjoy managing your finances? Or do you avoid it at all costs? Although consistent financial planning is often a goal many make but never quite reach, knowing how to handle your finances is an essential part of a fulfilling, successful life. A financial plan is especially important for women, who tend to live longer than men but earn less and spend fewer years in the workforce. Studies have found that approximately 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives.

“I’ve seen too many women unaware of the assets they have and confused on how to manage them if something happened to their spouse or themselves,” said April Hampton Perez, the senior director of development for planned giving at Southwestern University. “Women need to be educated, especially since they own a large percent of businesses in this country. But whether they are running a corporation, a household or both, women need to understand the importance of financial planning and how to do it.”

Explore the following financial planning tips offered by other women in finance and implement them into your own plan to ensure financial success now and in the future.

Managing finances is an important skill for any woman. Whether you've handled your finances for years or prefer to leave it to others, implementing these tips can help take your financial plan to the next level.

Top Five Financial tips for women

Focus on Your Goals

The best financial plan is one centered on your goals and values. Whether you’re preparing for retirement, a child’s college fund or another important life milestone, identifying your goals and where you are in relation to them is the first step for a successful financial strategy.

“It’s important to ensure your goals and values are at the forefront of your financial planning,” said Katie Brewer ’02, CFP® and president of Your Richest Life. “Make sure you’re spending money on the things that are important to you and that you’re planning ahead to meet your goals and avoid obstacles.”

Start small

If you don’t think you have enough knowledge to properly manage your finances or feel guilty that you aren’t doing more with your money, the most important thing to do is start. As a financial planner, Brewer often sees such feelings among her clients and encourages them to be confident in their financial knowledge. “You don’t need to be in the top financial shape of your life to move forward on a financial plan,” she said. “Baby steps are what get you in shape to run the marathon.”

Review your budget

Even if you’ve had a budget for years, it’s important to regularly review it and make sure you’re staying on track. As your situation changes throughout the years, it is also essential to tweak your budget where needed. “The way in which we develop our plans and budgets must be tailored to our reality,” said Nancy Granovsky, a retired Texas A&M University family economics specialist.

Granovsky shared that retirement, a change in family composition, health status or employment, or any other significant change in income or expenses are good times to re-examine your budget. Brewer added that no matter your situation, you can improve your saving habits by automating payments into a savings or retirement account. She also advised that people should know how much their monthly fixed expenses run and have a goal for variable expenses, which can be easily tracked by designating a separate checking account for such purchases.

Release Your Inner investor

Smart investing is an important component of financial plans, and women can leverage many of their natural traits to become skilled investors. “Women have a temperament for investing, and sometimes they don’t really know it,” said Laura Bley, president of Bley Investment Group. She explained that many women are long-term-oriented, a focus that helps them carefully research investments and weigh the risks.

“Many people say women aren’t confident investors, but it’s not that women don’t have confidence; it’s that we’re not overconfident,” Bley said. “I have advised clients who didn’t think they were capable because they didn’t handle one ounce of finance in their homes—the husbands did everything. And all of a sudden, they’ve stepped up to the table.”

don't forget about philanthropy

Although your financial plan may focus on more tangible goals, you can also include your values for helping others and making a difference in the world. Whether you have a little or a lot, including your favorite charities in your financial plans allows you to give back to your community and causes that are important to you.

“Deciding you have enough and can give some away is a hard decision, and sometimes women feel they don’t have the power or the necessary means to give,” said estate planning expert April Hampton Perez. “But, women can make a big difference with their pocketbook, and they don’t have to choose between charity and their family. They can support both.”

An easy way to achieve your family-related and charitable goals is through a planned gift. Charitable gifts remove tax burdens from family members, and many planned giving options also provide a steady stream of income to support your loved ones. Because a planned gift doesn’t take effect until after your lifetime, you can live comfortably for the rest of your life while leaving a legacy for future generations.


The Power of Planning

Lydia “Dia” Copeland is an example of the power of financial planning. After a major loss threatened her estate’s stability, she sought ways to care for her financial future. With the help of a gift planning workshop hosted by the Texas A&M Foundation, she learned how to manage her estate for financial success. “Being around a group of people who were genuinely committed to learning and caring for others felt so empowering,” she said.

Now, Copeland is using this knowledge to give back through a planned gift to Texas A&M University’s Health Science Center and students in the School of Public Health. “I hope my gifts allow students to develop and share their talents as they care for their future patients,” she said. “If we help even one person, then we’ve made a difference in a lot of lives—not just that person’s life, but all the lives they touch, too.”

Knowledge is power. Interested in more financial planning resources for women to increase your wealth wisdom? Contact Angela Throne ’03 using the form below.

Our new, interactive estate planning e-book will also serve as a valuable resource as you embark on your financial planning journey.


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