SHE Carribean Magazine - - MONEY MATTERS - By Ni­cole McDon­ald

Statis­tics clearly show that women out­live men by an av­er­age 7 years. The im­pli­ca­tions from this are far reach­ing as it im­pacts is­sues such as re­tire­ment plan­ning, health and well­ness plan­ning etc. Women's work­ing life is also in­ter­rupted by fam­ily life, as on av­er­age, women have to take a few years off more from work to at­tend to fam­ily. Ad­di­tion­ally the statis­tics show women earn on av­er­age 25 per­cent less than most men for the same po­si­tions held. All th­ese statis­tics just prove that women need to be more con­scious about the growth of their money and how best to invest, man­age and stretch each dol­lar to its max­i­mum po­ten­tial.

Re­cent statis­tics also showed that once they get round to tak­ing the chal­lenge, women tend to be bet­ter in­vestors as they tend to do more re­search on their var­i­ous port­fo­lios and make fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions based on in­for­ma­tion gath­ered rather than just go­ing with a tip or fol­low­ing a ‘hunch'.

Armed with this in­for­ma­tion at hand, we there­fore en­cour­age all women to take up the chal­lenge and join us on the in­vest­ment bus for an en­light­en­ing jour­ney of fi­nan­cial fit­ness and sound in­vest­ment re­turns.

Some key points for women who are con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing:

Start Now: Time is money. It is never too early or too late to start in­vest­ing. Take ad­van­tage of any ex­tra funds you may have now and make fi­nances your pri­or­ity. Also, look at any em­ployer ben­e­fits such as pen­sions, in­surance cov­er­age and even ed­u­ca­tional sub­si­dies to ac­cess the ad­e­quacy or oth­er­wise.

Plan a Bud­get: We all have some ex­penses that are manda­tory such as, util­ity bills, mort­gage or rental pay­ments and food. Then, there are other ex­penses that we can place a limit on such as shop­ping, en­ter­tain­ment and other lux­ury items. How­ever, when plac­ing lim­its on th­ese lux­ury items, be care­ful not to de­prive your­self of some­thing that you en­joy. This will only re­duce your mo­ti­va­tion for sav­ing and in­vest­ing.

Set Re­al­is­tic Goals: As part of port­fo­lio man­age­ment, in­vestors have to set goals for their funds. You may be plan­ning for re­tire­ment, chil­dren's ed­u­ca­tion or your own per­sonal ed­u­ca­tion. Th­ese goals are im­por­tant in or­der to de­ter­mine a time hori­zon for in­vest­ing, how liq­uid th­ese in­vest­ments should be and the amount of risks that should be taken. Al­ways re­mem­ber it is im­por­tant to have ex­pec­ta­tions that are re­al­is­tic and at­tain­able.

Seek Fi­nan­cial Ad­vice:

Most peo­ple lack the fi­nan­cial ex­per­tise needed to make in­tel­li­gent in­vest­ment de­ci­sions. There­fore, do not feel in­tim­i­dated or afraid to ask ques­tions. Read the news­pa­pers and ar­ti­cles on fi­nan­cial mat­ters in or­der to in­crease your knowl­edge. Seek ad­vice from a pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sor, a close friend or rel­a­tive or any­one else who you can feel com­fort­able talk­ing with. Where ever pos­si­ble, you can also re­search via the in­ter­net. Al­ways re­mem­ber to com­mu­ni­cate with your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor.

Do Not Be Afraid of Risk:

Most women have typ­i­cally been very con­ser­va­tive in their in­vest­ments. It is usu­ally con­sid­ered safe and easy to keep all your money in Cer­tifi­cates of De­posits (CDs). While th­ese are se­cure in­vest­ments, the rate of re­turn on th­ese CDs are very low and are not ad­e­quate for women plan­ning for any long-term goals. Ad­di­tion­ally the rates on CDs may not be ad­e­quate to pro­tect or cover you and your money from in­fla­tion.

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand that there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween sav­ing and in­vest­ing. Sav­ing is sim­ply putting money away for a rainy day. In­vest­ing in­volves the use of in­vest­ment ve­hi­cles for growth of money that one al­ready has saved. In or­der to re­ceive a higher re­turn, a higher level of risk has to be taken. You can be­come more in­vest­ment friendly

For years women have stayed on the side­lines of the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try for var­i­ous rea­sons, chief of which has been so­ci­etal up­bring­ing, lack of knowl­edge or fear of in­vest­ing. The re­al­ity of this is women are now be­com­ing more fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful and in­de­pen­dent and as such, there is a greater need for the av­er­age woman to un­der­stand and man­age their own wealth. Statis­tics show women earn on av­er­age 25 per­cent less than most men for the same po­si­tions held

by in­vest­ing in mu­tual funds, money mar­ket funds or even stocks and bonds. Tak­ing on more risk does not have to in­volve risk­ing your prin­ci­pal if this is not what you are in­ter­ested in. Of course, it is al­ways best to seek pro­fes­sional fi­nan­cial ad­vice be­fore tak­ing on risk. Do not be afraid of mak­ing mis­takes in some in­vest­ments. Learn from those mis­takes and look for ways to im­prove your in­vest­ments.

Seek a Fi­nan­cial Iden­tity:

While women should work with their part­ners and fam­ily to make fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions, it is im­por­tant to cre­ate your own fi­nan­cial iden­tity. This could start by sim­ply en­sur­ing that there are ac­counts in your name or joint ac­counts with your part­ner. Fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence is im­por­tant in or­der to pre­pare you and pro­tect you in times when you will have no choice but to man­age your fi­nances on your own.

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