Recently, I was honored to speak to a wonderful group of multicultural women of various ages from all walks of life. It was exciting to see a packed room of women interested in discussing money. The mistress of ceremony did an excellent job opening the session, getting the ladies comfortable and free of guilt around money mistakes.
As I stood up to begin my presentation, I reemphasized that our discussion would be a GUILT-FREE ZONE — and then I shamefully admitted to the audience how in my haste to get out the door that morning, I mistakenly forgot my notes. I guess God was telling me to trust Him with this presentation, to trust the power in my personal money story and the power of my truth.
When I have to speak before a group of people, I am always nervous. My nervousness comes from my desire to share information that I feel will resonate with the audience. It’s because I want to connect with women in a way that’s honest, approachable, real, and sincere. Talking about money with anyone can be intimating, and I told my audience that I know that. I get it. I’ve felt the same thing. My personal solution was learning as much as I could about money. Then I shared this information with my friends and became the “go to” person for financial matters. Now I recognize, this journey was orchestrated by God. Many of my former colleagues encouraged me to pursue financial planning as a career. When I look back it was so obvious, but when you aren’t clear about the vision for your life, you can’t see it.
After sharing this story, I moved on to the financial presentation. I connected personal finance to 3 different phases of life: planting, growing, and harvesting. Starting with that first job, parents can assist their children with the first seeds of planting good financial habits, by having them open a Roth IRA and investing their money, because youth is on their side. Then I asked the audience, why? A very wise woman responded: COMPOUND INTEREST. From negotiating salary and benefits in your first job out of college to talking with your fiancée about setting goals around money, it’s important to get comfortable having these kinds of conversations.
Then someone asked, “What if I haven’t done any of those things?” I smiled and kindly told them that it’s never too late to start. But most important, sit down and think about your goals first, regardless of how much they’ll cost. The important thing is knowing what you want. (Why do I start there? Because so many people never get quiet enough to ask or to listen to themselves about what they want out of life.) It’s where I start when I encounter new clients. I can’t help you maneuver through life financially if I don’t understand where you want to be.
Next is the growth phase, where your focus begins to change. I feel that is around age 40. It’s the age that you can start to visualize retirement. It doesn’t seem that far away. It’s the time when you should be maximizing your savings because just funding your retirement up to your employer match isn’t enough. I told the ladies, “You need to go all out and put the maximum of $18,500 in your 401(k), plus an additional $5,500 if you are over 50.”
I ended the discussion talking about reaping the financial harvest you’ve planted over the years. You need to think about your retirement, cash flow and expenses, taxes, and legacy planning. My time was quickly coming to an end, but I finished by sharing the story of how it was very important for me to have an estate plan in place once my daughter was born, how not even 10 days after she was born, my husband and I were sitting in our estate planner’s office signing documents indicating what we wanted for her should something happen to us. And by the way, I am a slight control freak, so I wanted to ensure that we could exhibit control over anything we leave her FROM THE GRAVE. And just in case she marries someone and it doesn’t work out, she will know to keep all assets we’ve left her IN THE NAME OF THE TRUST. (I got a laugh out of the ladies for that comment.) We have to protect our children from themselves.
If you want to enjoy a wonderful money conversation with me, invite me to speak at your women’s conference, private women’s group, or on a TV or radio segment around women and money. Contact my office so your audience can join a GUILT-FREE discussion around money.Tags: Financial goals, Investing, retirement planning, Woman Financial Advisor, Woman Financial Planner