Launching a business takes a lot of resources: time, money and your sanity. It’s sometimes more demanding than a newborn and requires every ounce of your capacity to be successful, especially in the early days. One thing that is often missed is investing in yourself; this includes both self-care but also financial planning. I know this was something that took me awhile to figure out and I’m so glad that I did.
When it comes to financial planning, most women ignore it because they’re either too scared to confront everything that comes with it, or they simply don’t have the time for it. This is where Wescom Credit Union comes through with their complimentary community seminars spanning a range of topics. Wescom is a credit union and financial services institution that has been serving Southern California for nearly 85 years! In addition to financial education, Wescom also offers essential banking services to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in SoCal like checking and savings accounts, and auto and home loans, plus retirement and investment accounts
I attended one of Wescom’s community seminars that is very important to me: Women and Money. I like to pride myself on staying on top of all things finance, investments, and retirement and this seminar was still chock full of information. When I shared some of the behind-the-scenes from the event, you ladies asked for all the details so I’m very excited to pull it together for you.
As women, we have financial needs that are unique to our situation and life; whether businesswoman, single, stay-at-home mom, nearing retirement, or primary caregiver for a loved one.
How do you do this all? First things first you need to develop a clear picture of your current financial situation. You need to start with plan which includes a budget and spending plan. This helps you determine:
- your current monthly income and expenses (are you making more than you’re spending?)
- evaluate your spending habits (are you spending too much on vintage?)
- monitor your overall spending on a regular basis
As women, we need to take financial responsibility for ourselves and our families. Because of this, it is critical that we know how to save, invest and plan for the future.
Take control of your money. This is where having a clear picture of your current financial situation is important. You need to know your budget, financial goals, and implementing a savings plan.
Become a knowledgeable investor. Learn as much as you can about investing from 401(k)s and SEP IRAs to risk tolerance, diversification and inflation. Take time to learn and then make a plan for investing. Give yourself time to learn the basics and then be patient when it comes to your portfolio.
Plan for retirement. I started saving for retirement with my first job. I remembered reading articles about “paying myself first” and matching my employer’s retirement contribution. Essentially you need to save as much as possible for retirement and start as early as possible.
Advocate for yourself in the workplace. Be confident in the work you do and the value you bring to the workplace. Don’t shy away from asking for a raise or the promotion you know you deserve. I promise you this, no one is going to advocate for you like you will for yourself.
Seek help to balance work and family. Put aside your pride and ask for your help. I’m lucky to have a great support network which has helped me balance being a business owner, mom, and wife.
Protect your assets. Identify potential risks and plan for them. This is different for every woman. For me, I have life insurance as well as professional insurance to protect my family and my business should anything ever happen to me.
Create an estate plan. I can’t stress this one enough. If you have a family and/or own assets, YOU NEED AN ESTATE PLAN. I have had friends tell me it’s too depressing to think about possible loss or death during the planning process, but you have to put aside those feelings and plan for the worst case scenario – your family is depending on you.
As mentioned above, the first step is to get a handle on your finances and set your financial goals. Once you have this plan, then you can work with a financial planner (Wescom Credit Union has great financial advisors in house who can help you every step of the way). With many locations throughout Los Angeles, you can easily find a representative conveniently located near you. Even when working with a professional, you should always check in with yourself and your goals. Also, don’t ever stop learning! I read about 5 financial articles a day so I can be a more knowledgeable investor and have intelligent conversations with my financial advisor. Plus, I attend complimentary seminars like the ones Wescom hosts regularly so I can be a financially wise woman.
To learn more about Wescom, call them at 1-888-8WESCOM (1-888-893-7266), visit wescom.org, or click here to open an account.
I’d love to know, which part of financial planning scares you and what are you most confident about?