As a working woman and a concierge financial planner, I get to meet my fair share of professional working women -- and those near and newly retired. While each woman has their own unique lifestyle and/or career, they have many financial concerns in common:
1. "I don't know how much longer I can last in this career. If I switch gears to a lower stress, lower-paying job, can I still meet my financial goals?"
2. "I know I need to invest to meet my financial goals, but I am afraid of losing money. What should I do?"
3. "My kids and/or parents still need my help financially. Can I do this and still take care of myself?"
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4. "How do I make sure I don't run out of money in retirement?"
While these can be concerns for men, too, women likely worry more intensely because:
Women still earn less, on average, than men do -- for doing the same job.
More often than men, women leave the workforce temporarily (to care
for children or parents), making saving for retirement more challenging.
Women are usually more conservative investors than men, making it harder to grow their savings over time.
Here are some quick steps to help ease these concerns:
1. Make a plan. Find a professional financial planner to design a comprehensive plan to meet your individual needs. Follow the recommendations you are given.
A comprehensive financial plan outlines:
If you can afford to change jobs or retire early
How much to save between now and retirement
The investment portfolio you need now and in retirement
What financial support you can afford to provide to your loved ones
Your professional financial planner will also help you identify:
Strategies to help save on income taxes
Financial risks you face and how to insure against them
Where your cash flow will come from in retirement
How to protect your assets from "creditors and predators"
Whether your estate documents will meet your goals to take care of loved ones -- and possibly charities you support -- after you are gone.
You can locate qualified professionals from the Financial Planning Association or National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. If you are a "do it yourself-er," websites such as Learnvest can help you build your own plan.
2. Begin saving now. Let your financial planner figure out how much to save and where. Take full advantage of all of the retirement savings options you can: 401ks, traditional IRAs, tax-deferred annuities, etc. Once you have saved everywhere you can for retirement, save any extra income into taxable investment accounts, or inside certain variable life insurance policies.
3. Don't be afraid to invest. The right professional financial planner should be able to educate you about your investment options and design a strategy to help you meet your goals, keeping your tolerance for risk in mind. Remember, leaving too much in cash increases the chance you could run out of money during retirement, which could be your biggest risk over time.
4. Take action now. Conquer your fears by taking action.
Karin Grablin, CPA, CFP, MBA is with SRQ Wealth Management, 1819 Main St., Suite 905 in Sarasota and can be reached at 941-556-9004; firstname.lastname@example.org .