Women Need to Manage Financial Health, Too
Roselyn Wilkinson has spent 25 years helping her clients plan for their financial futures. Over that time, she discovered a troubling trend. Women were abdicating financial decisions to the men in their lives; husbands, fathers, even sons, despite the fact that women are earning more on average than they ever have, make 85% of the spending decisions, and are more than likely to outlive their husbands. So Roselyn decided to do something about it, and her book, “It’s Good To Be Queen – Every Woman’s Pocket Guide to Financial Sovereignty”, was born. Roselyn sat down with Go Jane Go to give all of us road warriors some tips to reach financial independence while we’re managing a busy life, family and careers on the road. Q: Can you talk about the journey to being financially sovereign? Where does it start for most women you work with? Where SHOULD it start? ROSELYN: As with most things, the sooner you start, the easier it’s going to be, but it’s also never too late. Learning how to manage money should start as soon as children are old enough to understand what money is. Unfortunately for a lot of women, the don’t get engaged in the process until the responsibility is thrust upon them by divorce or death of a partner. Q: I personally feel that when my career started kicking into high gear I also had my three children and I let my financial life dive into a little chaos. Is this normal for women? If so are there some things we could do to improve? ROSELYN: Your situation is not at all uncommon. Lots of women’s finances take a back burner since the demands of work and family are more urgent. However, your financial independence is as important as these other things; they all go together. Women also tend to put others’ needs ahead of their own. Perhaps remember that you’re no good to anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Q: When I first met you and told you about my entrepreneurial journey, I expressed concern and stress about having stopped contributing to my 401k to build my business. ROSELYN: It’s important for people to explore their options if they’re no longer eligible for a company plan regardless of the reason. If your business isn’t generating income yet, but your spouse does, then you can open an IRA in your name for $5,500. Technically, it’s a “spousal” IRA and the money is for your retirement. Once your business takes off, you have many more options for opening your own employer- sponsored plan like a 401(k), profit sharing plan, and SIMPLE IRA. Q: What else can the men in our lives be doing to support us on our journey to financial sovereignty? ROSELYN: Men can encourage their partners to be engaged in all financial-related decisions. Two heads are better than one. They can admit that they don’t know everything – nor should they. This is important since one of the barriers to women taking control of their finances is a lack of confidence. Open and honest discussions about mutual goals and strategies to reach them is important in any relationship. Q: Since the women in the Go Jane Go community are frequent business travelers with some time in transit to read good resources – what are YOU reading that you could recommend? (financial or otherwise) ROSELYN: One of the most impactful books I’ve ever read is Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. It’s all about negotiating, what women aren’t taught and how they can get so much more for themselves and their loved ones if they just ask. There are a lot of financial-related websites and I list a lot of them in the book. As for pleasure reading, I’ve really enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s books. Q: The women in the GJG community are from all over the country and in different age groups. Can you give us a recommendation or focus for women in their 30s vs 40s vs 50s or older? ROSELYN: No matter the age, everyone needs to: Know how much it costs them to live so a budget – aka spending plan or cash flow statement – is important. Think about short-, mid-, and long-term goals. Putting together timelines and how much each of them costs gives target dates for accomplishment. Protect what they have with insurance and save for everything from a down payment on a starter home to a college savings account to a comfortable retirement. None of these is mutually exclusive; you can allocate some money to each of them depending on your priorities and it’s important to own your choices. Q: Three-quarters of the women in GJG Community are parents. What should we be telling our daughters and sons about money? ROSELYN: They shouldn’t rely on anyone else for their financial security. Just like they will be responsible for their own physical health, they need to be in control of their financial health. Both will be with them their whole lives and nobody else is going to care as much about either as they do. Roselyn Wilkinson is a registered representative of and securities and investment advisory services offered through Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. (BFCFS) Member FINRA/SIPC. MD&A Financial Management Company is independent of BFCFS. These are the views of Roselyn Wilkinson, not BFCFS, and should not be construed as investment advice.