Top 10 financial mistakes women should avoid

- 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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