Ladies, let’s be real: you don’t need me to tell you that the current financial crisis impacts us, as women, differently. Each of us feels that difference daily.
To the women who are overrepresented in jobs that can’t be done remotely: I see you. To the women who work in the industries hit hardest by the recent economic downturn: I feel you. And to those of us working the “second shift,” more formally known as the unpaid labor of looking after our children, households and, in some cases, parents: I hear you.
It is no secret that, as women, we’re more likely to be set back financially than our male counterparts as a result of COVID-19 – for a multitude of reasons. My intention is not to belabor the unique challenges our gender faces, but to offer ways we might navigate this pandemic while simultaneously improving our overall financial health and protecting our financial future.
- Envision your financial future. What does it look like to “have it all,” in your mind? Whether you’re aiming for a comfortable, early retirement or to join Forbes’ ranks of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, being honest with yourself and having clarity as to what your ideal financial future looks like is key to getting there. Need help bringing this picture into focus? We created In Her Dreams, a brief exercise designed to help women visualize their financial future. Download this free resource now.
- Set the path forward. Take this simple, 12-question quiz courtesy of My Accumulation Plan (MAP), which will help you explore your time horizon, risk tolerance and investment goals to appropriately calibrate how you should approach a stock-based investment portfolio. Note: you do not need to fund an account to do this. When you’re ready to invest and start your MAP, a wealth accumulation advisor personally will review your profile to make sure the asset allocations are in line with what you’re trying to achieve.
- Procrastinate no more. So, you’ve completed the first two steps. Whatever you do next, avoid falling into the trap of thinking there’s a better, more “perfect” time to get serious about your finances or invest. If you wait until the next big pay raise or other life event to take action, you lose out on the benefit of time. This is important because time is our biggest ally when it comes to making our money work for us.
- Stay the course. Once you’ve set the plan in motion, don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal. This is easier said than done, I know. I often tell clients to break that larger goal into a series of smaller ones that build up to the overarching goal and celebrate the milestones along the journey. For those interested in achieving their first $1M in net worth, for example, those milestones may include elimination of debt, negotiating a higher salary, saving or investing a certain percentage of each paycheck, etc.
- Utilize all available resources. Whether you’re a podcast junkie or prefer holding a physical book above all else, there’s something out there for each of us ready to impart financial wisdom. One resource women, in general, are less likely to utilize than men? Consulting with a financial advisor. We defer to experts in most other areas of life so why wouldn’t we engage with one on something as important as personal finance?
The simple tasks outlined above only scratch the surface. There’s more we can do to change the narrative about women and finances, while taking steps to protect our financial future. Want to learn more about finances and formulate a wealth accumulation plan of your own? Download A Girl’s Guide to Smarter Finances to unlock free tips from MAP’s advisors now.