If you're a woman looking to manage your finances and plan for your future, seeking professional help from a certified financial planner is a great way to ensure success. But few women -- about 7% -- feel "confident" about their ability to retire comfortably and only 35% work with a professional planner. So, how can you get the right help and improve your own financial picture? Here are 5 tips for any woman.
Be Comfortable. Finding the right financial planner or advisor can be a little harder for many women than for their male counterparts. It can be off-putting if the female client feels that the planner doesn't understand her individual goals, fails to listen or doesn't respect her opinions. You can avoid these problems by interviewing planners before committing to their services, listening to your gut instincts and looking for a planner who reaches out to clients in your generation or circumstances. If you have a gender preference, don't be afraid to let it be part of your decision. The important part is that you find someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Find Balance. While many people of both genders have similar basic goals, women tend to have more competing priorities at once. This means that simply pouring all your money into one long-term goal (such as retirement) may not be something that will make you happy. Instead, be open with your planner about all your financial goals and how much of a priority each one is for you personally.
Educate Yourself. Understanding your investments is the best way to feel more confident, make better decisions and reach your goals. Look for a financial planner who is willing to help educate you and explain things in terms you understand. Rather than getting bogged down in the details, focus on how your investments and spending plans relate to and help you reach your overall goals.
Protect Yourself. Women tend to give away money, time and attention to their loved ones... sometimes to their own detriment. Allow your financial advisor to help you learn to "pay yourself first" by setting up regular retirement contributions, using automatic deposits and getting your financial house in order early on. Creating a workable retirement plan that allows you to do things like claim Social Security at the full age or create multiple income streams will also help you protect your future by planning more today.
Keep Updated. Due to things like a persistent gender pay gap, taking time off to care for family responsibilities or having kids, women struggle more to keep their careers and salaries on target. To ensure future earnings, include additional training, networking opportunities and schooling in your overall financial plan. Career education may also benefit you by teaching you how to negotiate, how to be more confident at work and how to improve soft job skills.
Whether you're a Millennial woman or a female Baby Boomer, you can find a financial planning service who makes you feel confident and comfortable as well as learn how to reach all your different money goals. While it may require some time and money investment now, the result will be a future you can feel sure about.