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Money Cents

Key Concepts for Women Investors
By Shelley Phillips-Mills
Mar 14, 2005 - 11:09:00 AM

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Women today have more earning potential and more influence over financial decisions than ever before. Women represent almost half of the workforce and many businesses are owned or managed by women. Many women influence or control the majority of all consumer purchase decisions and many of the investment decisions. As you can see, it is important for women to focus on finances now more than ever.

Whether youíre a business owner, a stay at home mom or working in a corporate environment, learning to manage your money should be a priority. Throughout your life, as a woman, you will be faced with different financial challenges than your male counterparts. If you are going to take control of your financial future, itís important that you recognize those differences and empower yourself.

There are several reasons you should have a financial plan and pay attention to your investments. Letís take a look at some of these reasons:

Longer life expectancy. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, women outlive men by an average of seven years. As you live longer, you face more years in retirement and may spend these years alone. Youíll want to make sure that if you should find yourself in this situation, you are confident in your financial knowledge.

Being on your own. You may be on your own at some point in your financial life, whether it be before getting married, after a divorce or following a spouseís death. These experiences can be an emotional time in your life, so youíll want to make sure you have a solid understanding about your finances in order to know what your next steps should be.

Time spent out of the workforce. Generally speaking, women tend to spend more time away from work than men, whether caring for children or possibly an elderly parent. Even if you arenít currently in the workforce earning money, it is still important to stay in touch with your finances.

The key to navigating these and other challenges is to have a well-rounded investment plan. The good news is that itís never too early or too late to begin planning for your future. Here are a few steps you can take now to help ensure your financial security:

Determine your financial goals. Make a list of your financial goals including any specific needs your children may have. Once your goals are determined, you should determine the steps necessary to achieve these goals. Regardless of what your plan includes, the important thing is to have your goals clearly defined and identify the right tools to reach them.

Seek the advice of a financial consultant. It is important to find a financial consultant that you feel comfortable with and can trust. By seeking a professional, you wonít be giving up your decision-making power, but enlisting the aid of an expert to provide you with helpful advice on creating a tailored plan for your specific financial situation.

Educate yourself. Many women still make the mistake of shying away from investing, but educating yourself is the best way to learn more about the various vehicles available to you. Keep abreast of your own financial situation as well as what is happening in the investing world by reading financial news, surfing the Internet and attending personal finance seminars. By learning more about investments, you wonít feel as overwhelmed if you find yourself unexpectedly in the financial driverís seat.

Implement your goals. Once you are familiar with investing and have a clear picture of your financial goals, you can work with your financial consultant to begin implementing your plan. As you take action, keep in mind that you may need to change it in the event of life changes such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child. It is important to review your financial plan at least once a year in order to keep it fresh and in sync with your lifestyle. If you would like to receive the publication, Sound Concepts for Women Investors, by A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., please contact financial consultant, Shelley Phillips-Mills in Bangor at 800-947-5456.


This article was provided by A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc., Member SIPC.


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