Top 10 fi­nan­cial mis­takes women should avoid

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - N’dea Yancey-Bragg

Ev­ery­body makes mis­takes, but a few money mis­steps can lead to big fi­nan­cial prob­lems down the line.

This is es­pe­cially true for women. Here are top fi­nan­cial mis­takes women need to avoid, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial ex­pert Loreen Gil­bert, a mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive board of Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Women Busi­ness Own­ers. Wait­ing un­til mar­riage to buy a home: Gil­bert rec­om­mends sav­ing and buy­ing prop­erty while sin­gle. Spend­ing too much on per­sonal care: Es­tab­lish clear bound­aries be­tween needs and wants and mon­i­tor your spend­ing on dis­cre­tionary items such as clothes and cos­met­ics. Sav­ing too much cash vs. in­vest­ing: Gil­bert says while it’s good to have a safety net in case of emer­gen­cies, in­vest­ing some sav­ings in a well-di­ver­si­fied stock port­fo­lio can be ben­e­fi­cial in the long term and help beat in­fla­tion. Not be­ing com­fort­able with short-term mar­ket volatil­ity: Gil­bert says the long-term ben­e­fits of be­ing in the mar­ket out­weigh short-term volatil­ity. “Women in gen­eral tend to be more con­ser­va­tive than their male coun­ter­parts,” she says. “Part of it may be need­ing ed­u­ca­tion, part of it is women tend to like the idea of be­ing slow and steady.” Not sav­ing enough for re­tire­ment: Women are more likely to save for re­tire­ment than men, but they have a slew of fac­tors prevent­ing them from ac­tu­ally sav­ing: They typ­i­cally work less, earn less and live longer than men. Your goal for re­tire­ment should be sav­ing at least 15% of your in­come, Gil­bert says.

Start­ing a busi­ness with­out suf­fi­cient fi­nan­cial plan­ning: Gil­bert ad­vises fe­male en­trepreneurs to have a con­ser­va­tive cash flow anal­y­sis. Not hav­ing a con­sis­tent work his

tory to max­i­mize So­cial Se­cu­rity: Gil­bert says women should be track­ing their So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits be­cause they need to build at least 10 years or 40 quar­ters of So­cial Se­cu­rity. Re­ly­ing too heav­ily on a spouse to pro­vide for your future: Gil­bert en­cour­ages women to be fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent and main­tain their own as­sets.

Wait­ing too long to change your life­style after a divorce: “If some­one knows they’re go­ing through a divorce, they need to talk to a fi­nan­cial ad­viser to run some cash flow anal­y­sis,” Gil­bert rec­om­mends. Not lever­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships to

ad­vance your per­sonal wealth: Women of­ten are less con­fi­dent they’ll be able to make fi­nan­cial de­ci­sions, and many women don’t work with fi­nan­cial ad­vis­ers, ac­cord­ing to a 2013 Pru­den­tial study. Gil­bert rec­om­mends using ev­ery re­source at your dis­posal to dis­cover new wealth-build­ing strate­gies.

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