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The reality is that, more often than not, women successfully manage their household’s budget and cash flow, but do not transfer those skills to long-term personal finance goals. It is important for women to overcome these barriers and confidently manage their own financial affairs.

1. Develop the ability to manage your own assets.

There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all. Managing your own affairs is critical.

2. Be involved in household money matters.

When it comes to household responsibilities, many couples find it easier and more productive to divide and conquer. This may be a sound practice for household chores, but it is not a strategy that should be followed when finances are concerned. It is important for both spouses to be equally involved in all joint financial discussions and decisions. 

3. Put your own financial needs first.

Like the airplane safety instruction to put your oxygen mask on first, the same is true for financial matters. If you are like most women, you spend a good amount of time taking care others, and sometimes setting aside your own needs. But investing for your retirement is a necessity that you cannot afford to put off. In fact, based on the average life expectancy for women, you should plan to accumulate enough funds to last at least 20 years after you retire—so the earlier you start, the better. 

4. Step outside your comfort zone and accept some risk.

An important part of investing is to identify the amount of risk you are comfortable with. While no investment should keep you awake at night, considering options that carry slightly more risk than you would normally accept can help you build a strong financial foundation. Your financial professional can help identify appropriate options that will continue to support your goals.

5. Do your homework.

Successful investors research options and thoroughly understand what they are buying. Women are responsible for most of the consumer purchases in the U.S. This shows that women are generally educated and careful consumers, which can make them savvy investors too. Speak to your financial planner to get further assistance.

About the Author

Diane Manuel is a former UWM advisor. She worked closely with René for 5+ years, helping grow the Smart Women/Savvy Money Club. In 2021, Diane joined Adasina Social Capital as Director, Foundation & Client Relationships, pursuing her passion of creating investment strategies that support racial and social justice. Diane has been active in service and philanthropy most of her life, from her first job at the Watts–Willowbrook Boys’ & Girls’ Club to current roles with the Carter Center Philanthropy Council and the Women’s Foundation of California. Diane holds a BA from USC and a PhD in Psychology and MBA from Claremont Graduate University. She has authored articles in Investopedia, MarketWatch, and Financial Planning Magazine on finance, women, and philanthropy. An LA native, she enjoys 5Ks, the beach, wine tasting, photography, and walking with friends.