Tag: personal wealth

Negotiating for What You’re Worth

Published in: Resources |

It’s often assumed that women don’t ask for raises, that they act less assertively in negotiations for fear of upsetting the relationship with their boss or colleagues. Books like Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s Women Don’t Ask and Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In have tried to back this claim.

But new research from Harvard Business Review refutes this belief.

Women Are Asking for Raises — They Just Aren’t Getting them

Harvard Business Review found that women do ask for raises as often as men do — they just don’t get them:

“Women ask for a raise just as often as men, but men are more likely to be successful. Women who asked obtained a raise 15% of the time, while men obtained a pay increase 20% of the time. While that may sound like a modest difference, over a lifetime it really adds up.”

This is frustrating to hear. We already know that women earn less than men do (when comparing equally qualified people doing the same job, most estimates by labor economists put the gender pay-gap at 10% – 20%). Now, we hear that when we try to negotiate for a raise, we don’t get it. Our “shortcoming”? Being female.

“The bottom line is that the patterns we have found are consistent with the idea that women’s requests for advancement are treated differently from men’s requests. Asking does not mean getting — at least if you are a female,” Harvard Business Review writes.

Tips on How to Negotiate for that Raise

After hearing this research, you’re probably feeling discouraged. “What’s the point of asking for a raise if research shows I won’t get it?”

Yes, this news is gloomy, but knowledge is power, and now that we know what we’re up against, we can better prepare for asking for that raise. So, now we’d like to provide some research-backed strategies you can use to negotiate for that salary increase, also echoed in Ellevest’s recent article, “The Trick to Negotiating That Raise? Science.” Here are tips they recommend:

1. Get data (internal and external data)

Learn about the internal pay structure of your company. Ask your manager how pay ranges are determined or find out where your position falls relative to others in the company.

For external data, ask your friends and people in your network to find out what other companies tend to pay for the role. Ellevest recommends using resources like Salary.com and PayScale, while other reputable compensation reports can also be helpful. We also love the site, Ladies Get Paid.

2. Group your priorities

Negotiate bonus, benefits, equity, flexibility and, of course, salary as one group. That way, you’re not compromising on every individual ask, and it also won’t seem like you’re asking for too much.

3. Make it a win-win situation

What value — risk avoidance, brand value — do you bring to the company? Bring up these points.

4. Remember why you’re there

You’re there to get paid what you deserve. And research shows we negotiate more effectively when it’s for something bigger than ourselves. When negotiating, think about how a raise would help you, your family and loved ones, and causes you care about.

If you want a chance to talk to other like-minded women about these issues and other challenges that arise around money, please join us at one of our Conversation Circles.

The ‘Fifth Trimester’: Going Back to Work After Maternity Leave

Published in: Resources |

In late December, a new law was passed giving federal workers paid parental leave for the first time. (Unfortunately, not all federal workers are covered by the new law.)

This is a great step forward, and we’re so happy there’s being a national conversation around parental leave — it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. But we’d like to push the conversation further.

Companies and parents need to talk about a little known transitional period that author Lauren Smith Brody calls the “fifth trimester” — the time when new mothers, just months after delivery, are going back to work but often before they feel emotionally and physically ready to return.

Returning Back to Work

Brody, author of The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom’s Guide to Style, Sanity, and Success After Baby, writes that the first three trimesters (and the fourth — those blurry newborn days) are for the baby, but the Fifth Trimester is when the working mom is born.

Brody calls that first day back at work the “second cutting of the cord.” From interviewing more than 700 mothers for her book, she found that the emotional through line was guilt. “Everybody talked about guilt, even if it meant a different thing to each person. Everyone talked about coming back to work, feeling different and knowing that people saw them differently, no matter what field they were in,” she says.

Seventy-five percent of the women Brody surveyed said they wished they had been able to take a longer maternity leave. When asked how much extra time they would want, the most common answer was “a few more months.” “Either way, there’s a monumental transition,” she says. “I like to point out that the fifth trimester might be longer for some women and shorter for others. You kind of don’t know how long that transition time is going to be until you’re on the other side of it.”

Gender Equality in the Workplace

There should be an understanding among workers that this Fifth Trimester exists, and motherhood should not be treated as a career barrier.

As Harvard Business Review writes, “The ability to take one’s full parental leave without diminishing one’s promotion, pay, or leadership prospects is crucial for greater gender equality in the workplace and for helping all working parents, and in particular mothers, achieve greater work-life balance.”

Join Us at a Conversation Circle

Brody says that more than anything, it’s important to be transparent about the challenges, but also about the triumphs. “That will also help everyone be less afraid of it, both of going through it and managing people who are going through it.”

If you want a chance to talk to other like-minded women about these issues and other challenges that arise around money, please join us at one of our Conversation Circles.

Want to Improve Your Financial Health in 2020? Do This One Thing

Published in: Resources |

Creating New Year’s resolutions is a great way to kick off the new year, but sometimes our goals can be so big, lofty, and vague that we don’t know where to begin, or feel too intimidated to even start. What does “improve financial health,” “eat better,” “travel more,” or “stop procrastinating” even look like? What does it entail?

If “improve financial health” is on your list, here’s one tip: The single most important thing you can do to improve your financial health is to track your income and expenses. Whether by paper-and-pen or Mint.com (or other apps), you need to take a clear-eyed, realistic look at your income and expenses. Are you underearning or overspending? Some of both?

Tracking and categorizing your expenses can be tedious and daunting, so we encourage you to approach it with the mindset that it’s just data — data that is necessary to evaluate whether you should make spending shifts and how to make them.

Remember, you can’t embark on a journey until you’ve located yourself on the map. You can’t make choices about how to change your spending until you have insight into the choices you’re making now.

But the payoff is huge: Clarifying your income and expenses will give you the information you need to evaluate trade-offs, make informed decisions, and feel confident. There’s no secret sauce, but it all adds up to better financial outcomes.

Make Small Course Corrections Now

Making small course corrections to spending and retirement contributions now will have far greater impact than large corrections you make later. Try resisting the temptation of immediate gratification by thinking of these changes as advocacy for yourself at ages 70, 80, or older.

If you have access to a 401(k) plan, you should absolutely contribute, at least enough to equal your employer’s matching contributions. But it’s never too soon to start supplementing your savings with a health savings account (HSA), a traditional IRA, or a Roth IRA. If you’re self-employed, consider supplementing with a SEP IRA. For women who are closer to retirement, consider obtaining long-term care insurance, especially if you have a family history that indicates you may experience health challenges later in life. Such policies can be costly, yes, but they can make a world of difference.

Work with a Financial Advisor in 2020

Work with a financial advisor to crunch the numbers to see if you are on track. Armed with your financial data and some well-considered assumptions, you can get a realistic idea of where you stand now and devise a plan to make the course corrections that work best for you. If you’re interested in discussing your financial picture with The Humphreys Group, reach out to us today.

How Women Can Build a Sound Investing Strategy in 2020

Published in: Resources |

When it comes to investing, women gain a performance edge thanks to their innate patience, low-trading frequency, and goal-driven strategies. Some writers have noted differences between women and men when it comes to money-related decisions and provide evidence that women investors exhibit marathon-like behaviors when it comes to investing: they make steady choices that will result in bigger long-term financial gains and stability, and react to setbacks with less stress and emotion that men.

Women Are Better Investors — Here’s Why

According to a 2016 Fidelity study, female investors tend to outperform male investors by an annual average of 0.4%. This doesn’t seem like much, but it accumulates to a significant financial difference. For example, let’s say a man and a woman each invest $100,000; assuming a 4.6% average annual return for the man and a 5.0% average annual return for the woman, her investment will have grown to $432,200 after 30 years, while his will be valued at only $385,400. That’s nearly a $50,000 difference and is half of the original investment!

What factors are at play here? First, men tend to buy and sell their investments more often. The same Fidelity study found that men made an average of 55% more trades in 2016 than their female counterparts. This can be financially injurious because the more an investor trades, the more he risks making an investment right before it decreases in value or selling the investment right before it gains momentum. Because women are more likely to hold on to their investments throughout market fluctuations, they capture more growth over time.

Why exactly do women hold on to their investments longer? There are a lot of reasons. As women, we usually conduct more research before investing and maintain a long-term perspective more often. We tend to view investing less as a game to be won and more as a means to accomplish goals and reach life’s milestones. And while women aren’t afraid of risk, their heightened risk awareness leads them to allocate their risk-budget prudently, which leads to better, long-term outcomes.

Finding the Right Balance in Investing

I believe it’s vital to have a disciplined investment philosophy and to follow basic best practices. For context and as an example, at The Humphreys Group, we begin by reviewing and discussing the wide world of investment objectives and strategies that are available with each of our clients — expanding their knowledge, ensuring they are informed, and ascertaining the best strategy or strategies that will work for them. Some areas we cover:

Investing 101: Remember you are buying assets for their potential to increase in value, provide income, or do both. This means you need to expect fluctuations in returns, volatility, and cycles of depreciation and appreciation; long-term goals such as retirement, buying a home, or paying for college are investments that often weather such cycles.

Stocks vs. Bonds: Stocks mean investors own shares of a company, and those shares will increase or decrease in value based on how well the company performs. Bonds are considered less risky than stocks; they are a form of a loan to a company and investors’ payoff comes in the form of company interest payments on those bonds.

Asset Allocation: Multiple factors contribute to how you should approach asset allocation. We recommend that, when making decisions about where and how much to invest, you should take into account your unique views on your risk tolerance and risk capacity levels, financial goals, financial timetables, required income, and tax considerations. It’s also important to consider the variety of external factors that have the potential to affect investments, such as: market volatility, short- and long-term risk, inflation, and purchasing power.

The balance really depends on your unique situation — What goals are you investing for? How much do you have in investable assets, outside of your standard financial picture? — tolerance for risk, and time horizon. If you are closer to retirement, for instance, it’s often best to re-allocate to more conservative investments to help protect your nest egg as you move away from a steady, 9-to-5 paycheck. If you are younger with many years standing between you and retirement, you can afford to be more aggressive with your investment strategy, as you have more years to reconcile any losses from market volatility. Enlisting the help of a qualified, credentialed financial advisor can help you feel confident that you’re making the right decisions.

Evaluating Your Financial Situation

Take time to calculate and evaluate your net worth. Understanding this figure is vital to understanding your total financial picture and determining next steps, especially when it comes to investing. The number illustrates your financial realities and can help inform your financial direction and decisions, today and well into the future. Once you understand your total financial picture and where you stand, you can take specific, actionable steps toward successfully saving, investing, and reducing debts. Routinely assessing your net worth can help you stay on a steady path toward your long-term goals.

Education is always a good place to start as well, and women already excel at doing their homework and the research needed to get smart about a topic. What’s most important is to take risk that’s appropriate for your situation. Also, consider that risk and reward go hand in hand.

Be risk-smart — think about your risk capacity (how much risk you are able to take on, given your resources, expertise, and plan) versus your risk tolerance (how emotionally comfortable you are with taking investment risk). Remember that diversification is your friend — you can reduce risk by diversifying across types of investments, investing consistently over time, and maintaining a long-term investment horizon.

Work with an advisor to develop a clear sense of the level of investment risk needed to accomplish your goals. If that level is too high for your risk tolerance, you may need to refine your goals or make other changes, such as allocating more to savings.

Family Legacies: Do They Influence Our Giving Habits?

Published in: Resources |

For many of us, our family legacies have influenced how we engage with the world — including our financial practices. As we grow older and begin to examine our spending, saving and giving patterns, some of us realize our families have taught us money-related behaviors we admire and strive to emulate, especially when it comes to giving. But let’s admit it: it’s not always easy to give. As women negotiating busy, 21st-century lives, how can we sustain and grow the inspiration to continue giving traditions, particularly to the causes and issues we care about?

One thing to keep in mind is that giving may contribute to our overall sense of life satisfaction and happiness, and serve as a model behavior that others around us want to emulate. Study results reported by Fidelity Charitable in 2018 revealed:

  • A higher number of respondents who said they grew up with “strong giving traditions” felt closer to immediate as well as extended family members, and also felt higher levels of happiness than those who reported their family giving traditions were not strong.
  • “Strong giving tradition” respondents were more likely to engage in conversations and negotiations about the value of giving and where to focus their giving efforts; the same group reported parents and grandparents were key influencers of their adult giving behaviors.

When it comes to giving, however, women often forge their own path. A body of research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (part of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) continues to reveal differences between the factors that influence the giving behaviors of women versus men. Among the key findings from WPI’s 2018 study? Parents’ giving behaviors, as well as the frequency of parental giving, appear to influence women’s adult giving behaviors more significantly than men’s behaviors.

There may be additional reasons for why giving behaviors and patterns can differ between genders: a 2007 New York Times article cites social research that adds to the discussion about contrasts between what motivates the giving behaviors of men and women.

How can women, who demonstrate distinct giving behaviors, apply what they know about the general benefits of giving to their individual financial behaviors? Additionally, how can women develop long-term giving behaviors and habits that remain within their financial capacities and align with their distinct values so that when they give, they are consciously “giving with gladness”?

We offer a few final recommendations on how to approach giving, and encourage you to share these ideas with your network of friends and family (the one you have or the family you’ve made):

  • Build a network for your financial giving by discussing and sharing stories about the issues or organizations that you’d like to give to, and highlight the benefit(s) your giving could support.
  • If you choose to donate part of “your treasure,” establish a financial gift-giving timeline — monthly, annually, or on another schedule — to ensure you remain within your financial capacities and do not place undue stress on your personal budget and other fiscal plans.
  • As we’ve discussed previously, consider what “time” or “talent” you could provide — volunteering, consulting services, sponsorship, fundraising, etc. — in addition to or instead of a financial gift.

We understand that establishing a habit of giving can be a complex endeavor, influenced by lessons we’ve learned from our families or associated with a variety of positive and not-so-positive experiences related to money. Contact our team to discuss how you can develop a thoughtful strategy to begin meeting your goal of “giving with gladness.”

Reflecting on 2019: How Women Rewrote the Rules

Published in: Resources |

Over a year ago, the team at The Humphreys Group sat down and concretely asked ourselves:

  • If we made women’s unique strengths, concerns, and preferences the financial norm, what would we see?
  • What would happen if we flipped the narrative? What if we designed the world of personal finance, using the strengths and preferences of women as our starting points?
  • What if those strengths and preferences were seen as the advantage that they are, rather than something the status quo needs to somehow accommodate or tolerate?
  • If we were to create a financial services firm that was designed for and addressed the needs of women, what would it look like?
  • What would it look like to “do money” like a woman?

In asking ourselves these questions, my colleague Hallie Kraus and I came up with the book, “Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money.” In it, we identified 10 myths that have permeated our society for way too long. These are:

1. Men are better investors than women.

2. Emotions and personal values should be kept separate from money and investing.

3. Women are more risk-averse than men.

4. Women lack confidence when it comes to money.

5. Women are less interested in investing.

6. Women are less knowledgeable about math and investing.

7. Women need extra help understanding their finances.

8. Women can’t save because they spend money irresponsibly.

9. Women will save enough for retirement if they set up a 401(k) and play by the rules.

10. We should focus our time on fixing the gender income gap, not the wealth gap.

After defining these harmful myths, we dispelled them. We rewrote the rules:

1. Women possess all the qualities needed for long-term investment success.

2. Empathy and expertise both have a place in money matters.

3. Women have a healthy appetite for investment risk, but they’re more mindful about what the dangers are before diving in.

4. Women take time to reach well-informed decisions regarding finances.

5. Women are more ready than ever to carve out their place in the world of investing.

6. Mathematical expertise is not an innate characteristic; it’s a skill set that improves with effort and practice.

7. Women are taking initiative, proving they do not need to be coddled and cajoled into understanding their finances.

8. Women are powerful consumers with ample spending power, and we need to treat them as such.

9. 401(k)s won’t cover everything — women need to diversify their retirement portfolio.

10. The income gap is not the only thing hampering women’s financial mobility. Another alarming disparity is the wealth gap. And we need to fix it.

The financial services industry was built by and for men, and the institutions that created the status quo have excluded women from the conversation. We must start talking about women and money in an unapologetic and unabashed way — women already possess the financial knowledge and confidence to succeed.

For our part at The Humphreys Group, we will continue to address the challenges our clients face, encourage them to venture outside their comfort zone, and empower them to recognize the strengths they already possess, in finance and beyond.

We invite you to help us change the conversation. You can get your free copy of the book “Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money” at humphreysgroup.com/women-money-myths.

Why Women Are Natural Long-Term Investors

Published in: Resources |

Many of us have heard the expression, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” when faced with adjusting our attitudes to meet a long-term challenge. We at The Humphreys Group have been thinking how these words also apply to individuals and couples who aim to develop winning, long-term financial plans, and to female investors in particular.

Consider the notable lesson learned from participants in the 2018 Boston Marathon, where more women literally “went the distance” than men and gained the attention of multiple observers for doing so. Female participants — in one of the most grueling and well-known 26.2 mile races in the United States — lasted longer and finished in greater numbers when bad weather led to increasingly challenging course conditions; just 3.8 percent of women dropped from the race, compared to 5 percent of male runners.

The stamina of female marathoners did not go unnoticed. Shortly after the race, The New York Times ran an opinion piece by Lindsey Crouse, a runner and NYT senior staff editor, who asserted the idea (and added related links) that women have the capacity to withstand both physical challenges and mental stresses for long periods of time — in some cases much longer than men.

In an article for Business Insider several months later, Shana Lebowitz explored the theory that women may be more driven to complete a race as their end goal, whereas men tend to want to win a race above all else. Drawing a connection between women’s racing mindset and other areas where women exhibit an attitude that relies on mental staying power, she noted: “And the implications of this gender difference go beyond marathons, or athletic prowess.”

Backing up Lebowitz’s observation are those who’ve examined the possible relationship between gender and financial investing traits. Some writers have noted differences between women and men when it comes to money-related decisions and provide evidence that women investors exhibit marathon-like behaviors when it comes to investing: they make steady choices that will result in bigger long-term financial gains and stability, and react to setbacks with less stress and emotion that men.

Others assert that the concerns some women voice about their supposed lack of investing abilities are not strongly supported. MarketWatch emphasizes that, despite professing lower levels of confidence in their investing abilities and exhibiting more risk-averse tendencies when it comes to investing, women generally possess the characteristics of solid long-term investors.

The 2020 Boston Marathon is still months away. We can’t predict April’s weather conditions, but everyone who persists toward that finish line is a winner in our book. In the spirit of those who are preparing to travel a lengthy course — including a financial one — we encourage you to contact The Humphreys Group to see how we can help you stay on track and go the distance with your investment strategy.

How to Cope with the Emotional Impact of an Inheritance

Published in: Resources |

Many of us would like to believe otherwise, but our experience and research at The Humphreys Group shows that a person’s feelings and attitudes about money can affect their approach to financial planning. We’ve also seen how emotions may exert an even stronger influence on those who’ve received an inheritance; in response, we offer our clients several strategies to help them navigate the choices and decisions that arise from inheriting a financial gift.

  • Take time – time to grieve, to remember and to appreciate the person from whom you’ve received your inheritance. Allow yourself to adjust to new life circumstances that the person’s passing, and their gift, may cause. Don’t rush toward decisions without processing your emotions.
  • Begin to assess your financial situation when you feel emotionally ready. Review your debts, your dreams and your goals. Consider how your inheritance may help you address these.
  • Consult with trusted family members about your possible next steps. Will you use your inheritance to pay your debts down (or off)? Will you set aside funds for a child or grandchild’s education? Will you put money toward retirement? Will you direct monies toward a charity? Will you use some of the funds to travel? Explore some combination of these or other potential courses of action.
  • Work with a financial advisor to develop a long-term financial plan for making the most of your inheritance. You should also meet with your accountant and attorney to fully understand the ramifications — for instance, taxes and legal issues — related to your inheritance.
  • Resolve to review your plan, with both family members and professional advisors, on a regular basis. Checking in with these parties from time to time will help ensure that you are thoughtfully and clearly making the most of the empowering gift that an inheritance can be.

At The Humphreys Group, we realize money is an emotional issue for many people. We also know that receiving an inheritance while dealing with the passing of a loved one can heighten the emotionally-charged stakes of managing individual and/or household finances. We have the knowledge and expertise to offer assurances and strategies on how to approach financial planning in light of an inheritance. Contact our advisors today to begin the conversation.

Your Estate Plan and Your Children: What to Say and When

Published in: Resources |

We know conversations about finances and estate planning have great potential to be an “elephant in the room” for many of us, especially when it comes to conversations between aging adults and their grown children. Data from a TIAA study in 2017 showed between 75%-85% of parents and children consider financial discussions very important, but only 11% of parents and 37% of adult children were likely to initiate talk about money and estate matters.

And when families do talk about money matters? Only 9% of parents felt their conversation was very detailed, perhaps due to another statistic: 90% of parents and 70% of children said conversations about their parents’ finances and future plans happened spontaneously. However, those parents and grown children who interacted regularly and purposefully with each other to talk about their plans and wishes reported overall high levels of satisfaction about doing so.

We recommend three steps you can take to address the potential “elephant in the room”:

Step 1: Reflect

Resolve to begin detailed conversations with your children to address your financial well-being and estate plan. You should also consider what issues related to money may be challenging for you to express, as well as what kinds of responses may be difficult to handle.

It takes courage to deal with the variety of approaches, attitudes and expectations each person holds about money. Before you engage with your children, spend time thinking about your approach to and experiences with savings, spending and investing; understand how that may influence the tone and direction of your conversations.

Step 2: Prepare

Plan to talk to your children when there is ample time to calmly discuss your estate plan and any issues that may arise. Practice what you want to share, by writing it down and rehearsing. Also, be willing to ask your children even the most seemingly obvious finance-related questions. We’ve developed this list of potential questions; begin with easier topics and progress to more complex ones:

  • What have you learned from my/our example of handling finances?
  • Do you know what I/we want to do in retirement?
  • Are you interested in knowing what’s in my/our will?
  • Do you know what I/we plan to do with our property?
  • Do you know about our philanthropic goals and what we support?
  • Do you know where to find pertinent information for addressing any requirements of you?
  • Are you interested in meeting my/our financial advisor to learn more about our plans?
  • Are you aware of the things I/we pay for, today?
  • Would you be able to take those costs on if I/we weren’t able to support them anymore?
  • Do you think you’ll need my/our financial help down the road, whether it’s for smaller monthly expenses, or larger ones such as a down payment?
  • Would it matter to you if I/we used our savings for travel and leisure instead of helping with your expenses?
  • If I/we needed help paying for long-term care down the road, would you consider helping cover medical bills?

Step 3: Schedule

Agree on the time, financial topic, location and length of your discussion to help all parties remain relaxed and comfortable throughout the conversation. As a family, commit to continuing your conversations about money and estate planning — for instance, you could develop a schedule for ongoing dialogue.

During scheduled conversations with your children, revisit your financial situation and, if necessary, bring up “next topics” related to your estate plan and investments. You may also consider working with a financial advisor who can assist with keeping your conversations about finances focused and productive.

Because many of us only talk about money when we have to, money conversations usually happen in the heat of the moment or when there is pressure to make a decision. Knowing when, where and with whom you will be talking about finances, and being intentional about the conversation topic and scope, can significantly improve both short- and long-term outcomes when it comes to the parent/child dynamic.

Remember, even the smallest of elephants grows larger with time — and trying to ignore it does not help move it out of the room. Contact The Humphreys Group for further advice on how you can best talk with your children about money matters.

Diane Bourdo Speaks to Ellevate Network About Women’s Financial Empowerment

Published in: Resources |

From pop culture to the talking heads you see on nightly financial news programs, the investment world has long been characterized by a certain type of imagery. You know what we’re talking about: Men in suits spouting off tips about the next “hot stock.” Men on the trading floor, surrounded by ticker tape and loud bells.

What’s the common feature in each of these images? Men. Women are never included in these depictions, which has given way to a systemic bias, constructed since the early days of Wall Street: Women don’t — and shouldn’t — invest.

But the problem with that bias (beyond the obvious)? It simply isn’t true. A recent Fidelity Investments study showed that women investors actually outperform male investors by 0.4%. Moreover, women trade less often, react more patiently to market volatility and are less focused on achieving “social status” benchmarks, such as “beating an index.”

Yet, there is still a common perception among women that assumes the opposite. For instance, in the same Fidelity Investments Study, only 9% of women believed they could outperform men in investing. So, how can we change the conversation?

Last week, I teamed up with Ellevate to work hand-in-hand with a small group of women who were seeking financial empowerment and guidance. During the event, I shared some cornerstone financial skills and insights; guided participants through fundamental financial planning exercises; and helped them discover some inspiration that lies in the possibility of financial security.

Here are a few key points from our discussion:

Financial Planning 101

At The Humphreys Group, we have always believed in the importance of establishing financial goals that match up with your values — these are the people, priorities and ideals that matter most to you. Taking this approach allows you to gain a more holistic, big-picture view of your financial future and sets you on a more rewarding and intentional path toward achieving your goals.

After discussing this approach with the group, we broke down financial planning to a more granular level, introducing the concept of the “financial dashboard”: A top-level view of the key figures you can use to identify your level of financial wellness, including income, expenses and net worth. Today, there are plenty of convenient, digital tools you can use to keep a pulse on your financial dashboard, such as Mint, YouNeedaBudget and Tillerhq. By focusing on the basics of financial planning first, we set a strong foundation for the next segment of our discussion:

Investing 101

“Should you invest or save?” “Why invest in the first place?” We kicked off our discussion on this topic by answering some of the questions that all new investors face.

At its most basic level, investing is the process of buying an asset for the potential of it growing in value. As opposed to saving, investing gives you the valuable opportunity to grow your wealth over time — and regardless of what goals you have set for the future, it’s important to start investing early, proportional to your time horizon and tolerance for risk.

After reviewing some basic, yet essential investment principles, we discussed some critical steps all women should take to maximize their savings for one of the most important milestones they’ll face: retirement. Two basic steps include:

    • Maximizing Your Employer Match: Make sure you have a strong understanding of what your company offers, in terms of matching contributions, and how that affects your retirement goals.
    • Choose Your Retirement Accounts Wisely: Before jumping straight into some of the most typical savings vehicles, such as a 401(k) or a standard savings account, take time to research and evaluate your options. Review your potential tax liability with each account before making a final decision.

Take Control Over Your Financial Life 

Beyond the practices of financial planning and investing, there are countless other financial issues and challenges that affect our day-to-day lives. Should you pay off your debt or invest in a retirement account? Should you direct your savings toward your children’s college education or stock them away for your future retirement? What about insurance against unexpected events? Planning for future health care expenses?

The answers to these questions are different for every woman — because every financial situation is unique. Of course, there are general guidelines and principles that can help you get a better grasp on your money and empower you to make the most informed decisions.

The most important step is to simply get started. If you need a resource to help you put your best foot forward:

Check Out Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money”

Our new book debunks some of the problematic myths that have held women back from financial independence, while empowering you with practical solutions and actionable tips to take control of your financial life. We encourage you to download your free copy, and let us know what you think!

If you’re ready to learn more about financial planning and investing, we also encourage you to contact our team at The Humphreys Group. We can help answer your most pressing questions, and help you set and achieve your goals through the power of focused financial planning and disciplined asset management.