By Paulette C. Pasquale,CFP®
Whether by choice or chance, women are more likely to manage their own financial affairs and plan independently at some point in their lives. It is no secret that women outlive men, on average by six to eight years. There is also an increase in “grey divorce” which means older-aged couples find themselves calling it quits. Therefore, it should be no surprise that 80% of women die single by choice, widowhood, or divorce.
Women are likely to control significant wealth in their lives. Most of this wealth has been accumulated during a lifetime of working and saving. With this wealth it is important we understand it. We need to know and understand all aspects of our financial lives. It is necessary to participate in planning for the future because at some point we will have to manage our own financial and legal affairs. With married couples, it is very common for one partner to manage the couple’s finances, most often the husband. Even so, it is crucial for both partners to be able to comfortably take on financial responsibilities.
It is important to understand your wealth, including investments, debts, who owns what, and who will inherit. Financial planning should start early. Your plan should address all aspects of your financial life and have the flexibility to address life changes and challenges. This includes working toward goals for your future and more importantly preparing for the unexpected. This should also include having in place the legal documents that may be needed in the event of a severe illness or death.
Financial planning should be an ongoing process with regular reviews. It is critical to revisit and update your plan during times of transition. Unfortunately, it appears that women typically wait for significant life events to update or begin their financial planning, which can often be too little too late. According to a survey, 50% of advisors surveyed said that married female clients came in to update estate plans only on the death of a spouse or after a divorce.1
Prioritize building a relationship with your team of advisors. These are the people who will be offering guidance when you are on your own. It is critical that you are confident that they are working well on your behalf or realize when you need to seek your own counsel. Women often ask whether they should pick male or female advisors. I find that it is more important to choose advisors with whom you connect, and whom you trust to work in your best interests.
Life is a series of ages and stages, which lead to many transitions throughout our lifetime. These can include widowhood, divorce, job or career changes, retirement, etc. Ongoing financial planning provides the tools to help you feel confident that you are prepared for what may come and we are here to help.
1 2019 Trusts and Estates Women and Wealth Survey
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The example(s) given are hypothetical and are for illustrative purposes. Actual results may vary from those illustrated
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