Insights & News

September 2016

Everyday Super Heroines: Women Who Achieve Financial Freedom Deserve Our Esteem

With elections coming up, many of us are looking for candidates who will best promote our values. You can also vote with your pocketbook. We often look to public figures such as Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown, Michele Obama and JK Rowling as inspiration, but everyday women who have overcome challenges and conquered fears to establish a better life can be just as inspiring.

As a financial planner I hear women’s personal stories and watch them overcome such hurdles as trauma, financial hardship and the ordeals of household money management to achieve financial freedom and a sense of peace. These stories rarely make news, but are every bit as inspiring. Sarah became widowed in her mid- 50s. She had spent her time raising her two children while her husband, the breadwinner, took care of the family finances. They lived a very comfortable life until her husband was diagnosed with cancer and died about six months later from a rare complication.

Sarah was panic-stricken. She knew nothing about the family’s financial situation or how to manage finances, but was determined not to let their children down. First there was handling the estate, and then she had to figure out how to manage her cash flow. She wasn’t sure she could afford to pay all the bills coming in.

Sarah spent the first weeks tracking down legal and financial papers and uncovering the various accounts. She was familiar with their bank accounts, but knew little about their investment accounts, insurance policies or her husband’s employee benefits and retirement plans. Little by little she chipped away at the areas she didn’t understand. Over time, she learned how to understand the language of financial statements. She was willing to ask questions until she understood the concepts and numbers.

Today, Sarah is at peace. She and her children managed to maintain their lifestyle and she is pursuing her own career. It took courage and commitment to keep at it. It’s important for all women to be proactive and learn what Sarah did before they have no choice. Being in charge of your financial future is empowering and will give you a sense of ease. Here are a few of the areas you should know about.

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