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Money Mindset: Financial Advice for Women Straight From the Experts

By Deborah L. Monroe and Shelby Tuttle

 

Women are amazing: bad mama jama superheroes who can multitask and manage the day-to-day activities of raising children, working, and maintaining healthy relationships with partners, friends, and family. 

And although we can essentially do it all, a recent study from Bank of America shows that only 48% of us are confident about our finances, and only 28% of us feel empowered to take action. That same study shows that not saving and investing sooner in life is the chief financial regret among women.

For those of us who are rocking their finances and truly have it all together, we say bravo! But for those of us who need a little push, we say it’s time to turn to the experts for a little advice to guide us on a more secure path. Now is not the time to let fear, ego, or pride keep us from seeking out the help and advice we so deserve.

Stephanie Fullerton is one such expert here in the Valley that has been on the forefront of financial investing for nearly two decades. She is the president and co-founder of Fullerton Financial Planning along with her husband, Steve Fullerton.


Stephanie notes that the motivation for her work lies in “seeing people enter their retirement with confidence, knowing that they will be ok, and watching them check off their bucket lists and live out their retirement dreams.”

But for some, that can be a challenge. And unfortunately, it can be even more difficult for us women. Historically, women have been subject to a variety of financial setbacks, including the ability to invest less due to wage gaps and taking time off work to raise children. Fullerton believes that over the last decade, she has seen her female clients become more in tune with money but has historically seen a need for women to be proactive and protect themselves financially.

She says, “I encourage women, especially those that are staying home as a career, to be very active in the management of investments, to know what they have, know who with, be involved in the meetings, help make investment decisions, make sure that they are protected by having investments of their own – perhaps insurance products that have contractual guarantees as protection, and life insurance in their name, as well.”

Financial literacy expert and international best-selling author (releases include Rich Dad Poor Dad, Outwitting the Devil and Think and Grow Rich for Women) Sharon Lechter is also in agreement.


“Far too many women are fearful around money. They didn’t learn good money habits when they were young and don’t know how to be proactive in their own financial management. In addition, far too many abdicate the role of financial management to a husband or partner,” she says. “This causes a crisis when they lose their husband or partner through death, divorce, or separation, and they have the cold realization that they have no clue how much money they have, where it is, and how to access it. When it comes to money, you are either in control of [it], or it is in control of you!”

For women looking to evaluate their financial situation, she lists reviewing your credit score at the top of the list. If your credit score is low or nonexistent, work to begin raising or establishing your score now.

For young women, Fullerton recommends educational opportunities about investing.

“First, enroll in some classes that will help you understand the basics of investing, join a financial club, and meet with an investment advisor,” she notes.

With the daily barrage of investment advice in the news and social media, many women often feel confused or perhaps even intimidated by investing. They’re often left questioning what things should be considered, and how they should invest their money.

According to Fullerton, “Investing is about diversification, and you should focus on achieving up to five different income streams in retirement. In addition, every plan should address four essential things: health care, inflation, taxes, and income.”

For women over 55 who may be starting over financially later in life, she offers this advice.

“First, ensure that you sit down with a licensed Investment advisor who will work as a Fiduciary – it is never too late to start,” she says.Be diversified, be tax efficient, and understand the options that are available to you in the investment world.”

Lechter notes that our financial habits and relationship with money is often influenced by the messages we were subconsciously taught as children.

“As a child we heard our parents say things like: ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees!,’ ‘Save for a rainy day,’ ‘Pinch your pennies,’ or ‘We can’t afford it!’ All of these comments are negative so we grow up hearing, ‘money, negative, money, negative, money, negative!’ This is why we develop a scarcity mindset. Once you recognize it, you can release that scarcity, and open your mind to a mindset of abundance.”

To challenge this mindset, she suggests spending time analyzing the money conversations we heard when we were children to identify whether or not we employ a scarcity mindset. If you do, Lechter notes that you may hear yourself saying “We can’t afford it!” to our children. She suggests an alternative to prevent a scarcity mindset from being passed down to another generation.

“Instead, say ‘How can you afford it?’ The question triggers your child’s entrepreneurial spirit and his or her subconscious goes to work finding ways to afford what he or she wants. Allow them to set the goal, work toward it, purchase what they want ,and celebrate with them. You will see their self-confidence grow throughout the process.”

Lechter also suggests looking into money games, programs, and apps that can teach your kids about money while also helping you to take control of your financial life.

Finally, she suggests that rather than trying to do it all on our own, consider finding an investment group to work with.

“Not only will you have more brain power to learn about investing, you will probably have a lot more fun. Taking action will help you build financial confidence,” she says. “We are taught to do everything ourselves. To grow our financial wealth, we need to surround ourselves with a team of people who are strong where we are weak. Learn to buy, build, or create income-producing assets. When the income from your assets exceeds your monthly expenses, you are financially free.”

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