Knowledge is power.
For women — who on average earn only 80% of what men do at every step in their careers and retire with fewer savings — accessing the information needed to feel confident in your financial choices is one of the most empowering steps you can take in the journey to financial freedom and prosperity.
Last week, personal finance coach Bridget Jones joined LongView for the webinar, A Woman’s Guide to Financial Health and Money Confidence. Bridget is the founder of Smart Sister Finance, a company that offers coaching to women to help make the key principles of personal finance simple and actionable.
Her presentation was packed with useful tips and strategies for women to take agency over their finances at every stage of life. We left feeling motivated and inspired, we hope you did too!
For those who missed it, here are the main takeaways from the webinar:
Set Some Goals
No matter where you are in life, the first step in taking action is to create a vision of what you want for your future and set some goals. Try using the SMART system - this stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely.
Make Sure You Have A Budget
To start budgeting, the best strategy is to start by tracking expenses, and then set spending and savings goals from there. Bridget recommended following the classic rule of allocating 50% of your budget to needs, 30 % to wants, and 20% to savings and investments. Since women make less money in the long run than men and tend to live longer, saving and investing from an early age is crucial. If you have young daughters or granddaughters, encouraging them to adopt this habit will serve them for the rest of their lives.
Take Advantage of Tax Deferred Accounts
Contributing to a 401(k) or 403(b) account, an individual IRA, or a 529 Education account are all great ways to reduce your overall tax burden. Bridget explained the differences between these accounts and which to choose when. Some of her tips include maxing out your IRA or 401(k) contributions before investing in another account, and contributing to a child’s education account as a way to pass on some of your wealth with minimal tax consequences.
Bridget went over the 2020 changes to the rules for inheriting an IRA, which make it a bit more complicated for anyone other than a spouse to inherit this kind of account.
Set Yourself Up for Retirement
Setting yourself up to thrive in retirement starts long before you turn 65. Once again, Bridget recommends starting with a vision for what kind of life you want to live after you stop working, and checking in on your funding strategy and spending projections at least once a year. The standard calculation for how much you will need in total is 20 times the amount you plan to take out to cover living expenses in the first year of retirement.
For women who are already retired or close to retirement, some of Bridget’s tips include waiting to take social security benefits for as long as possible since the amount you get increases the longer you wait. Remember, if you are divorced, but were married for more than 10 years, you can choose to take 50% of your ex spouse’s full retirement benefit if it is higher than yours.
The information contained herein is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not exhaustive. Diversification and/or any strategy that may be discussed does not guarantee against investment losses but is intended to help manage risk and return. If applicable, historical discussions and/or opinions are not predictive of future events. The content is presented in good faith and has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The content is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult a legal, tax, or financial professional for information specific to your individual situation.
This content not reviewed by FINRA