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Financial planning for women: Still more room for growth

Spotlight on Finance

— ● Women (82 percent) are more likely than men (76 percent) to be concerned that they aren’t saving or investing enough money to meet their retirement objectives.

● Women are the key decision makers for 83 percent of all goods and services that enter their household.

● The average woman spends 15 percent of her career out of the paid workforce caring for children and parents.

● Women open 89 percent of all bank accounts.

● Life insurance is the most commonly owned financial device, with 74 percent of women owning a policy.

● The current life expectancy of a female at birth is almost 81 years; for a male it is 75 years.

Do you have a financial plan? If not, start by working to eliminate debt by creating a realistic budget. For most women eliminating debt means paying off credit cards and parting ways with plastic spending power. It’s hard to invest in your future when you are paying upwards of 20 percent in interest on your purchases.

Consider developing a spending plan—for both today and tomorrow. This will help you more effectively stretch the dollars you earn and allow you to assume more responsibility for your financial well-being. Here are a few tips:

● Take full advantage of retirement vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs, which have tax advantages.

● Make early, regular contributions to your savings and investment accounts. For example, a 20 year old who invests $2,000 a year for eight years will earn more off that investment by age 65 than a 30 year old who invests $2,000 a year for 30 years.

● Assess your risk tolerance and define investment objectives that encompass short-term, midterm and long-term goals.

● Build a balanced, diversified portfolio. Women tend to invest significantly in low-yield, safe investment vehicles as opposed to higher-growth potential stocks.

As always, consulting with your financial advisor will ensure that you are on the right path.

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