Are you a woman who is financially empowered?

Women are more empowered and educated today than any time in history. There is a woman serving as the first VP of the US. Women serve in all branches of US armed forces. Women run countries, corporations, businesses, centers of faith, households and the list goes on. Women equate to more than half of the college-educated US workforce.

If we are so empowered and so educated, why are many women so aloof when it comes to their finances? This goes for all age groups-those just starting their first job all the way to the widow who just lost her husband. In the past the man of the household was traditionally the sole breadwinner and handled the family finances. Women were not involved in how the household income was handled. So, grandmothers and mothers did not have healthy spending habits to pass down to their daughters and granddaughters. Also, women tended not to discuss finances or become very uncomfortable when doing so.

Today we live in much different times. Women- We need to do a better job at educating ourselves and seeking out help in our weak areas when it comes to finances. No more sticking your head in the sand! The only thing to fear is the unknown. When it comes to your finances acknowledging where you stand is the first step, then you can take steps to improve. Discuss finances openly and calmly with the next generation. Help them to not make the mistakes that have been made in previous generations. This will help to dispel the myth that finances are something to be argued about.

Finances include many different facets from the simple to the complete. The following list is a great place to start to determine what you do and do not know about your finances. How many of the following can you answer? Note-not every question may apply to you.

-What are your monthly expenses?
-When are your bills due and how are they paid (online or snail mail)?
-Do you have an emergency fund (3-6 months’ worth of living expenses)?
-How much debt do you have (mortgage, car, student loans, credit cards, etc.)?
-What is your credit score?
-What are your assets (checking account, savings account, retirement account, house, etc.)? Whose name are they each in?
-How is your retirement account invested?
-Are you comfortable with how aggressive or conservative you are invested? Do you even understand or know what that means?
-Do you have completed estate planning documents that are up to date (will, living will, power of attorney, health care proxy)? Where are they located should you need to access them quickly?
-Do you have life insurance and is it enough should the unexpected happen? Where is the policy(ies) located should you need them?
-Do you have beneficiaries listed on each of your accounts (bank, retirement plans/accounts, life insurance)?
-What are your short, mid and long-term financial goals?
-Are you on track to accomplish your goals?

So, how many questions were you able to answer off the top of your head? Some questions may have been very easy to answer while others you may not be sure about. So where do you go from here?

Meeting with a certified financial planner (CFP®) or other financial professional can help to answer your financial questions and help you to create a healthy financial future. Also, an estate attorney can help with drafting your will and other documents.

The author of this article, Courtney Arria, CFP® is an LPL Financial Advisor at Urist Financial and Retirement Planning, Inc., located in East Syracuse, New York.   Courtney Arria is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Registered Representative with LPL Financial.  She is dedicated to building personal connections with clients, which leads to a clear understanding of their financial needs and how she can help them to pursue their financial goals. She strives to simplify clients’ finances in order to educate and empower. Courtney can be reached at 315-445-2147 or courtney.arria@lpl.com.  Company information can be found at www.uristfinancial.com.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.