Myth has it that women are lousy with figures, but rather, they are good homemakers whose arithmetic skills are concentrated towards managing household expenses. And then there are the stereotypes that women are walking a colorful and adventurous life of style and glamour.
Such statements may raise the ire of many financially-adept women of modern days. Sure, there may be a handful of women who are not fluent in financial matters, but nowadays, most women are.
Here are some interesting findings from a recent Prudential Financial survey entitled “Financial Experience & Behaviours among Women”:
1. 53% of women who participated in the survey are now primary bread- winners for their families.
2. One in three women does not have a financial advisor, but they are eager to work with an advisor to gain the tools and knowledge that they need.
This trend will continue as women graduate from school at a higher rate than men. As a result, more are getting into the workforce, succeed- ing at their jobs and moving up the corporate ladder.
With all these social shifts, there is a sharp increase in women’s earning and ability to create wealth. Hence, there is a need for financial advisors to adopt a relationship-based model and focus more on financial educa- tion for their female clients. Undoubt- edly, trust is a major criteria required from female financial advisors.
Women can then become more confident about themselves and their financial planning abilities with the financial knowledge they need and the feeling that they can trust their advisor. Areas of their needs are all encompassing and a little bit more.
To sum up my first few articles, allow me to share the thoughts of some ladies on why they think women of today needs to have an independent advisor.
MS JASPER HII
Women need to handle their finances differently from men. This is largely due to factors like differences in earning patterns and priorities, which are very specific to women.
However, the basic goals of personal finance remain the same for both men and women. They are:
1. Ability to meet daily expenses and live comfortably
2. Provision for emergencies and unplanned expenses, and
3. Savings for life during retirement
However, the way in which men and women achieve these goals is different.
While men earn money uninterrupt- edly throughout their working lives, women often need to take breaks, especially when they are relocated due to marriage, being pregnant, change of spouse’s job location, change in household responsibility, or to take care of the children. Sometimes, they even have to sacrifice their high-paying jobs just to take care of the family.
It is important that women have a separate personal financial plan from her family, either from her parents or her husband. This is even more evident with changing times, the need has increased due to the alarming rise in divorce rates and increase in accidents and stress related ailments.
If a woman handles her own finances, she is financially well-prepared to handle money matters when the need arises. Knowledge of different investment avenues, savings and expenses is important to run a family.
Last but not least, a separate personal finance portfolio will prepare a woman to face financial challenges in the event of a divorce.
MS LILY LAU
As the sayings goes…educate the women if you want to educate the society.
Nowadays, women not only contrib- ute to the economic well-being of her family, but they could also influence the building of a better society. Thus, it is important to plan for one’s financial affairs to meet the ever changing needs of women and their families.
Proper financial planning would ensure the needs of the family are fulfilled when they become due, i.e. children education, or retirement funding. A happy, educated and caring family is likely to produce a happy, educated and caring society, on a larger scale.
Besides, women are known to have longer life expectancy. Hence, the risk of living too long is apparent and women have to acknowledge this and manage it as early as possible. The issue inherent with living too long is sickness, which needs medical care and geriatric manage- ment and care. This is because women cannot be totally dependent on their children to care for them in old age. Furthermore, there may be a need for a specialist to help families look after their aged mem- bers. All these factors increase the needs for women to plan their finances properly.
MS STEPHANIE LAI
Women living in the new millennium play many roles, filial daughter, super mum, supportive wife and career woman.
Despite the many hats she is wearing every single moment, she cannot afford to delegate their financial security to a spouse, or significant other, and allow divorce, or death, to plunge them into financial doldrums.
Research has shown that women, even professional ones with good jobs and successful careers, tend to be less financially savvy than men. Having said this, not all women lack financial skills, of course, many simply lack the time to acquire the knowledge.
Studies also show that women tend to save a slightly higher percentage of their paycheques than men. They ultimately end up with smaller balances because of their lower earnings. Does that mean women need specially tailored financial advice by a licensed financial advisor? The answer is a resounding yes!
MS PATRICIA TAN
Women seek security in their lives and financial security is part of it. Those who are suddenly single, like divorcee and widows, obviously need help. Single women, in general may also have special needs. They do not have a spouse’s paycheque to fall back on.
Married women, on the converse, handle many of their families’ routine money management duties, purchasing decisions and investment. But, studies show the gap in financial literacy between women and men is large. A lady financial planner is important to fill in the gap for financial planning in a woman’s life. Women need financial advice, which is specially tailor-made with emotional factors being taken into consider- ation.
MS MACY WONG
Modern women of today have a higher earning ability and need financial planning for their more sophisticated lifestyle, higher standard of living and their other aspirations in life. Some may lack the time to plan, even though they have the knowledge. Others may lack the knowledge, understanding or know-how.
Women need the holistic approach to financial planning, such as wealth protection, wealth accumulation and wealth distribution. Working with banks or relationship managers gives them limited products and some- times, these women feel that they are being product-pushed.
Different categories of women, e.g. single women, married women, single mothers and widows, have different needs and expectations in their lives. Therefore, they may need someone who listens and under- stands their needs in order to plan their finances according to their situations.
Other important areas to take into account when planning for women are their lower mortality rate compared to men and their emotions, biological changes, e.g. menopause and other women-related diseases.
To ensure financial success, women must learn to be financially indepen- dent by acquiring the appropriate financial skills, or seek the help of licensed financial advisors, preferably another woman, to achieve these goals.
MS JESSLYN SIOW
Women need financial planning due to some of the special financial issues that they face:
1. Women live longer than men Women, on the average, live five years longer than men. Hence, women need long-term care insur- ance more than men since they often outlive their spouses.
2. Women as care-giver Women (more often than men) interrupt their careers to care for children, aging parents and grand- children. Hence, women need life insurance to pay others for their homemaking services (food prepara- tion, child care, transport) in the event of an unexpected death happening.
3. Women are more insecure about financial matters If married women leave financial decision-making to their husbands, they may struggle with financial matters if their husbands pass on before them. Since women are more insecure about financial matters, they tend to be more receptive to profes- sional advice, especially from female financial planners who personally understand them and are more intuitive in their approach.
MS JULIA WONG
One of my favorite books, written by a wise sage some 2,000 years ago, not only described the virtues of a good wife, who is a good woman to begin with, but also expounded on the principles of smart investment.
The book describes how a virtuous woman, who is deemed to be a truly good wife, mother and philanthropist, has invested her time, talent, money to help her husband by taking care of
the household and managing the children and servants. She is depicted to be rich, but worked from dawn till dusk. She used her intelligence and time well by invest- ing in business, trading and buying land and cultivating crops. She did not waste any resources and has cleverly managed her investment and was reaping good results. She was also a good marketer and this has contributed to her husband’s good reputation.
The book also outlines the clever application of sound investment principles and the resulting success from the application. In modern society, educated women of today are a far cry from their mothers and forefathers (and foremothers!). They are deemed as “super-women” because they have to juggle their time between family and career all at one go; not to mention motherhood as well. They play many roles and are a pivot to the family as well as society. They are often called upon to fend for the family and herself no matter what the circumstance is. To sum it all, they have a lot on their plates, be they single, married or divorced. If only all these women know the principles of investment at a young age and build an indepen- dency and financial security which act as cushions for soft landing should life throw lemons at them.
Financial planning began many centuries ago – wealth creation, diversification, protection and distribution were the blue print of success in this woman’s household. Why do women need financial planning? *“Her children stand and bless her; so does her husband. These good deeds of hers shall bring her honor and recognition from even the leaders of the nations”.
(*Interpretation: Her children bless her because she is able to create the wealth and pass on to them; her husband blesses her because she is a good soulmate and help in life. The leaders of the country recognize her effort in contributing to the gross domestic product of the nation).
MS TAN SEK CHOO
“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”. By nature women are born unique, they are not only powerful in influencing the upbringing of children, but also their complex roles; be it as mother, spouse, superior, associates, mentor, community leader, is very challenging and sometime require nerves of steel. Women are required to take charge of their lives. Hence, there are various reasons for women to be financially equipped on their own.
One of the major challenges women face in their life journey is the change in working patterns. Men often work uninterruptedly throughout their lives, but women often need to take some major breaks, such as relocation after marriage, pregnancy, children and career change.
Any interruptions to these life journeys, such as divorce and relationship breakdowns, will have financial repercussions as well as emotional stress. It impacts women more than men.
Women have to acknowledge that they are granted longer life expec- tancy. So, the amount of retirement savings for women should also be higher. Statistics show that, on average, women live five years longer than men, earn 25% less during their life time and work 11 years less in their careers.
Financial planning helps to provide a better and in-depth understanding of the situations that can create a negative impact on a person’s finances. This also helps women to consider different ways that can assist them in reaching their financial potential in the future, without having to rely so much on their spouses or children. Engaging a financial planner is of utmost important as the planner can serve as a mentor in steering women into achieving financial success in a holistic manner.