Women, Improve Your Financial Skill Set

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    NEWSLETTERS

    While statistics show that women are living longer than men and more are graduating with degrees, experts say their financial knowledge isn't keeping pace. (Published Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010)

    While statistics show that women are living longer than men and more are graduating with degrees, experts say their financial knowledge isn't keeping pace.

    And that could pose problems, considering that nine out of 10 women will at one point in their lifetime be solely in charge of their finances.

    "Whether you like it or not your are going to have to make investment decisions," said Financial Planner Genevieve Mar of M-G Financial.

    She finds that many women who come to her office do most of the everyday budgeting but delegate financial planning and investments to their husbands.

    Mars offers these tips:

    • Be Budget Aware.  It’s not just enough to pay the bills.  Women need to know where the money is going.  See what's left over and consider whether it'll be enough for the rest of your life.
    • Don’t Neglect Your Own Nest Egg.  Even in troubled economic times, couples should each contribute to individual accounts.  If you want to build your own assets and credit, your husband’s isn’t enough.
    • Explore Alternative Investments.  Don’t just think stocks and bonds.  Seek out alternatives like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS).  Investments in institutional properties with long leases than can pay out without the volatility of the market.
    • Re-Evaluate your Relationship to Debt.  Your mortgage and credit card payments should take up no more than 40 percent of your net income.  It's especially critical and puts you in a better position if you ever need to refinance.
    • Simplify Your Finances.  Use online banking and bill reminders.  Duplication is not diversification.  You should consolidate accounts when possible.

    The Illinois Treasurer’s Office  offers Smart Woman/Smart Money classes. The program is in its 10th year.

    $MART MONEY: Navigating the Road to Financial Freedom