Aaron Katsman 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Whether it’s from high divorce rates, living longer than their husbands or
getting married later in life, more and more women are finding themselves in
charge of their own finances. As such, women need to be able to stand on their
own two feet when it comes to money matters. In a growing number of cases the
refrain “a man is your financial plan” is no longer relevant.
to personal-finance expert Joan Baker: “There’s no guarantee that life comes
with a man. Even if it does, there’s no guarantee that money comes with that
man. And even if you get a man who comes with money, there’s no guarantee that
either will stay.”
While that may sound a bit crass, the fact is that
women need to take care of their own finances. On average, women earn lower
salaries than men. Due to child rearing, they are in and out of the workforce.
As a result, women tend to work less time than men, but because they live
longer, they have to save more for retirement. Women need to learn the tools
necessary to budget correctly, set short- and long-term financial goals and to
invest in an appropriate fashion to meet those goals.
Though not scientific, it has been my experience that many financial
professionals act condescendingly toward women when it comes to helping them
plan and invest. You get the feeling they believe women can’t create budgets and
live by them.
Instead of helping women take control of their financial
situations (by giving them the tools and education needed to be financially
stable), they skip this step altogether and focus only on their investments.
Here, too, many investment advisers get low marks.
Because women outlive
men, they need financial plans that account and compensate for their longer life
Unfortunately, there have been many studies that indicate
women tend to have significantly more conservative investment portfolios than
While this may have served women well as the markets dropped
last year, women who take too conservative an approach may end up running out of
Equal opportunity I recently met with a single woman
in her early 30s who has been working in hi-tech and saving for about a
As she lives with a roommate, her living expenses are quite low,
and she has accumulated a very respectable sum of money. She also receives a
full complement of social benefits, so she has a good start on planning for
retirement as well.
It turns out that all the money she has saved over
the years has been sitting in her local bank on deposit, earning next to
nothing. I asked her why she had never invested the money and/or bought an
apartment. She said there were two main reasons: she always figured she would
get married and have her husband handle everything; and she was put off by a
financial adviser. She had met with a fasttalking professional who wouldn’t take
the time to explain various investment concepts in depth. She was told that
since she didn’t grasp the basics right away, she would be better off keeping
the money in the bank. He basically wrote her off.
We spoke about the
possibility of buying an apartment. I said she could continue to have roommates
and charge them rent, which would cover her mortgage payments. Instead of
throwing money away on rent, she could build equity in an apartment – all while
keeping her roommates and having them cover her mortgage.
We also spoke
about creating a longterm stock portfolio to help pay for the weddings of her
children when she does get married. After taking the time to explain various
investments in depth and to answer her questions, she thanked me and said it was
really the first time anyone ever took her seriously when it came to money
All women, married or divorced, single or widowed, have their
own specific issues when it comes to managing finances. Speak with a
professional who is sensitive to women’s needs and has the patience – and will
take the time – to explain various financial solutions.
This will help
give you the tools to get on the path to financial
firstname.lastname@example.org Aaron Katsman, a licensed
financial adviser in Israel and the United States, helps people with US