“Money is not everything.” However, having money or excess money, we could achieve many of our dreams and goals and solve many problems. Think about the last time you wanted to take your child to Disneyland, surprise your parent by flying out to see them at Thanksgiving, sending your child to college or helping a loved one with financial difficulty, retire or retire early. All of these takes money. When we have the money, we could decide how to take care of it. When we do not have it, we can only wait and hope it will somehow be taken care of.

When I was a child, I heard my Mom jokingly said to my dad,” My money is my money. Your money is my money. Are you with me?” This message has stuck with me and has guided me to be in charge of my finance. She worked all her life and was a good saver. She sent both children to college outside of the country. She retired at age 59. She was able to help a family member to put a down payment towards his first home. Although she is still happily married with my Dad, going 55 years strong, she would have been financially okay if her marriage did not work out. My mom has proven to be in control of her money in both bad times and good times.

Today I am managing my finance and helping many women clients to manage theirs. I discovered a few very important facts in my 16 years of this profession:

  • The average age of a widow is 55, and 75% of women will be widowed by age 56. (b)
  • 80% of widows living in poverty were not poor before the death of their husbands. (c)
  • 40%–50% of all first marriages, and 60% of second marriages, will end in divorce. (d)

All of the above supported “Women have to handle and manage our finance one day whether we like it or not.” My question is “Are your ready?” If you are not, how do you begin?

I recommend taking a small step:

  • Read your next pay stub and understand where does your money goes?
  • It is open enrollment season for company or group benefits now, know what are the benefits available and at what costs to you via your company enrollment website or your HR or Benefit department.
  • Login to your retirement account. Find out how much you have.

The power of one or two small steps towards your goal is not so much about what you have done but the fact that you have made a decision to change and move to be in control. This provides confidence and the momentum towards the right direction.

You do not need to be Martha Stewart to cook a good dish. You do not need to be an expert to be in control your money. You can always seek professional help. Just begin by taking your first step today!

a FA Online, Serving Widowed Clients Whatever their age by Amy Florian, July 11, 2013
b http://www.raymondjames.com/annebedinger/pdfs/Sudden_Responsibility.pdf
c http://www.divorce.usu.edu/files/uploads/lesson3.pdf

A Partner and Vice President at BPG Wealth Management LLC, Alice has worked as a Financial Advisor for almost two decades. She is widely regarded as a thought leader and often invited as a keynote guest speaker on television shows and by corporations looking to inspire their employees.

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