Women have different needs than men when it comes to protecting their money. Like men, women need to be aware of the common risks such as:
-- Diversification, etc.
These risks can be managed with good advice and adequately covered through insurance.
Assets and income need to be protected from theft and loss, and as your wealth grows your risk increases as you become a target for potential lawsuits.
If you are under-insured for liability, property coverage, disability or life, then you are putting yourself at additional risk. Many people are underinsured because they are not reviewing their policies regularly, or they don't understand what their policies actually cover. It's important to understand what your risks are and make sure you have an expert review your coverage periodically.
But women have other unique risks that need attention, especially as she gains control of her money and begins to increase her wealth. As her wealth grows, so does the need for protection!
Women may need additional protection from uninsurable risks such as:
-- Naiveté or Innocence
-- Spending on emotions
-- Family & Legacy
Naiveté or innocence
Naiveté, or innocence, puts women in danger because they can easily be taken advantage of. This may be intentional or unintentional, but it is certainly easier to sell something (like an insurance policy, real estate, an investment, a car repair, or something as simple as a nick-knack) to someone who doesn't understand it and doesn't ask questions. So maybe the agent isn't intentionally trying to harm you, but if you don't know what questions to ask, neither of you will know whether it's right for you or not.
So, don't try and avoid a potential conflict or frustration from the agent or any salesperson. Continue to ask questions until you feel confident and competent about your options. Then you can look at the consequences and make a smart decision.
Spending on emotions
And what about emotions? Spending to fulfill an emotional need such as comfort, happiness, or the biggest danger...guilt, puts women at the highest risk because it shuts off objective, rational, decision making.
Doesn't guilt tend to come when you do something you know you shouldn't be doing, but you do it anyway?
One problem is that many are confused as to what they "should" be doing, and, therefore, it's easy to feel guilty...whether or not it's appropriate. For example, have you ever felt guilty for buying something for yourself? Oftentimes, women have a hard time buying anything for themselves, so the smallest purchase can trigger guilt. At other times, some women spend out of control and feel guilty that they've overspent, or overbuy for their children because they feel guilty about their parenting.
Either way, guilt would disappear if you were working objectively toward your goals with a solid financial plan, right?
You can build into your plan money for these things, but with proper planning you can do it in moderation so that you don't neglect yourself, over-spend, or put your future at risk.
Women should be cautious of their partner's money habits and patterns before getting into a relationship. In a new relationship, it's easy to ignore the warning signs of a financially immature person...we see their good qualities and ignore the red flags. But when it comes to money patterns, this is a time that you cannot afford to ignore the warning signs.
Love can certainly have its blinders, but make sure to keep an eye open to how he spends, if he's in debt, and how he discusses his financial situation (or if he's secretive).
Even if someone you love isn't intentionally trying to take advantage of your finances, his poor financial habits could be devastating to you. Keep your money separate and safe, and consider a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage.
A client of mine had built up her net worth during her single years, had great credit and a promising career. After falling in love with a man that lived on his potential (not his reality), she was broke, in debt, [had] several foreclosures, and lost her credit by the time they split up. Had she been more aware of the warning signs, she may have been able to protect herself better.
And, when it comes to your family, it is very important that you have a legacy plan for your wealth. If you want to see your money go to the loved ones that are important to you, you must protect yourself with good estate protection planning.
Not properly planning for your death by ignoring simple estate planning tools such as a will and living trust, could create a substantial loss of money you could have transferred to them. If your estate ends up in probate, you can expect 3-7% to go to probate fees and even worse, you could end up paying the full estate tax (possibly as high as 55%).
But unfortunately many women overlook the need to make a plan to protect their assets because they figure that:
-- It's already handled
-- Someone else will do it for them, or
-- It doesn't apply to them
And here's another reality -- without a comprehensive plan that includes the possibility of mental incapacity and death, you will leave these important decisions up to 1) your spouse or partner, 2) your children, 3) other family members, or 4) a judge. In all four cases you are not the one in charge, and your views will be significantly different than theirs.
The bottom line, don't let your fears and procrastination give away your power to make important decisions about your assets. Being prepared is essential in sustaining your lifestyle, not to mention maintaining the freedom of transferring your assets to your heirs in the manner YOU want them to go (rather than how the courts say they should go).
Smart women protect their money by taking action. They take the time to study the financial skills they need. But most importantly, smart women work with smart advisers! Women cannot afford to ignore their money issues and bury their heads in the sand. Over 90% of all women will manage the family money at some point it their live, and over the next decade, women will account for over 85% of consumer purchases.
We need to be smart about money. The world needs us now more than ever.
Angie Grainger, CPA/PFS, CFP® is The Black Belt Money Master and her passion is helping others become at peace with money. Even more importantly she helps couples use money as a tool to transform their relationships, get on track with their ideal life…and stay there! Angie is considered the Black Belt Money Master because of her Karate and Yoga background, and now she combines her wisdom of martial arts with her financial expertise to bring powerful money programs that surpass time tested principles. For a FREE eBook, 7 Secrets Women Must Discover to Create & Protect Their Wealth, visit her at www.bayareawomenandwealth.com.© 2012 Angie Grainger
The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.