This Valentine’s Day, instead of the impulsive spending that most of us are guilty of, perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves is a financial makeover. After all, chocolate has A LOT of calories, flowers wilt and die… and how much jewelry does one actually need?
Unfortunately, women and money do not mix often enough as women tend not to talk about their finances.
The results of Fidelity’s Money FIT Women Study were released this week and it found that women were more comfortable talking about their health than they were about money. Of the 12 million investors surveyed, most based their discomfort on a lack of confidence in their knowledge of investments and financial planning.
Less than half of the women surveyed were comfortable talking about their finances and investments with a financial advisor. However, 82% of the women felt they had a good handle on their budgets. In my experience, I find this to be true of my female clients. They seem to do an excellent job managing their day-to-day affairs. The problem seems to be getting women to focus on retirement planning, which is so important.
The study found that women tended to save more than men and experienced higher investment returns when they did invest. However, too few women take control of their own finances, which is not ideal since the vast majority will be forced to manage their own finances at some point in their lives. There are various reasons why this may be, including remaining unmarried, caring for sick parents, divorce or widowhood.
The investment balances of women tend to be smaller, on average, than their male counterparts.
Women seem to have many admirable characteristics that should make them better planners. They save more and can focus on long-term goals. Luckily, 92% of the women surveyed are interested in learning more about financial planning and 83% would like to be more involved. So here are some ways for women to get more involved:
- Ask some friends for a referral.
- Do some research online.
- Meet with a financial planner that you are comfortable with.
- Choose a CFP® professional.
- Ask questions.
- Participate in your retirement plan at work.
Remember, women and money are a great combination for a healthy retirement. The key is to start now as there is no better time to take control of your financial future than today.
Happy Valentine’s Day!