Sent: 09-12-2011 14:17:03
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Ten finance tips for the suddenly single female exec
In 2008, Susannah Kulincevic, a financial adviser at Brocktons Independent Advisory, began noticing a trend. Several women were coming to her, seeking financial advice, and they all fell into the same demographic-single women in their 30-50s who were all very successful in their chosen careers-executives, CEOs, and business owners-and, whether by choice or by circumstance were managing their own finances for the first time in their life. Intrigued, Susannah and her partner Daniel Brammall, set out to interview these women and, as they did so, patterns began to emerge.
These women had to overcome a number of unexpected obstacles in their career path, including outdated beliefs and prejudices in the workplace, inaccessibility of professional advisers, and the sheer difficulty of having to deal with most of these issues on their own. What's more, in the former life of many of these women, managing the finances was traditionally the husband's role; now they were sorting out their own finances, learning as they went, and finding that not all help is reliable. Together these obstacles made creating financial independence particularly difficult.
Susannah's research found that the 'life path' to becoming a successful, single career woman was particularly difficult. While these women might have always been conscious of the eventual need for financial independence, it generally wasn't the only focus in their lives. Raising a family was especially important to them as well. However, most didn't expect to be raising kids and building a career on their own.
Even though most women who find themselves single again are able to get a job, pay the rent and feed their kids, they often find that they now have less than half a working life to accumulate a lifetime's assets.
Susannah's research pointed to the following ten things that worked best for the suddenly single female exec:
1. Those who quickly got back to a stable financial position made an early decision about whether they wanted to manage their own finances or whether they wanted to delegate it to an adviser.
2. They were prepared. Whether you're managing your own finances or you're interviewing potential financial advisors, it helps to organise your financial documents ahead of time. This will help you feel informed about your finances and it will give you a good idea of what you've accomplished and what you need to work towards.
3. They were open and honest about their current situation. Don't be afraid to let your emotions out. Many of the women that Daniel and Susannah talked to were nervous about meeting with an advisor and even felt self-conscious about their personal money knowledge. If you're feeling that way, it's perfectly normal. Emotions often drive our financial decisions. Embrace your emotions and, in the end, a good financial plan will leave you feeling inspired.
4. They had clear goals. Evaluate your personal goals on a financial level. What is important about money to you? Do you want to put your kids through college? Travel in Europe for a year? Retire by the time you're 55? These are all important factors to consider when making a financial plan.
5. They put a lot of effort into building a strong team of financial support and advice around them. Ask your friends for recommendations if you're searching for an advisor. Chances are that your friends have similar life experiences and will have recommendations of good financial advisors. Of course, they might also have horror stories. Both will help inform your own search.
6. They built up their financial knowledge and took an active part in managing their finances. Knowledge is power and there are now many avenues and support available to women who want to improve their financial literacy - whether through courses, books or even joining a networking group. Is there a group of women in your profession who meet regularly? You'd be surprised at the info you can glean at networking gatherings. It's not just the men who talk about finances at the water cooler anymore.
7. Your financial team should be made up of people who make you feel good about yourself and motivated to achieve your goals. Many of the women Susannah and Daniel spoke to complained that they were made to feel stupid and that they were asking "dumb questions" when they sought financial help. Some advisors were condescending, some made it clear that she didn't have enough money to work with, and most of them were more interested in selling her products rather than addressing her goals. Financial advisors aren't one-size-fits-all. You may need to shop around. Set up a few interviews and look into hiring an independent adviser.
8. The most successful women Susannah and Daniel spoke to were the ones who didn't accept the first thing they were told and insisted on options. A good financial advisor will be able to offer you options based on your financial needs. With informed choices, you'll be able to make the decision yourself and take back control of your finances.
9. Have a clear understanding of your risk profile. Make it clear to your potential advisor how you'd like to be involved. Are you financially savvy and have clear ideas on where you want your money? Can you stand to take a few risks or do you prefer to be conservative?
10. You are not alone. Join the Financially Fit in Forty Days Challenge on Facebook. This Facebook Community provides you with the opportunity to meet other single career women who are taking back control of their finances. It's a supportive environment where there are no 'dumb' questions.
To arrange an interview with Susannah Kulincevic and Daniel Brammall, please contact:
Amanda King at Professional Public Relations
P: 02 6215 4495
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