Pattie Lovett-Reid: How women can take control of their financial situation
Women are climbing the corporate ladder, entrepreneurship is on the rise, and education levels are soaring – all factors that point to higher earning potential.
There is so much to celebrate on International Women's Day, as we mark the progress of social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
But we can't and won't stop here.
Environments that encourage women to advance have shown that men advance as well: we all advance together. Building a culture of equality is the key to narrowing the pay gap, according to a new Accenture Research report.
Sure, we still have a way to go to achieve equality; however, the optimist in me believes it will happen with strong leadership, action plans and empowerment. It is about taking charge now.
Not everyone, however, defines success by the size of their paycheque.
Defining success will be different for all of us. Some will define it by way of a great job, starting their own business, or achieving a post-secondary education. Others will give back to the community, to their family, and their friends. While some will define success by way of a healthy mind and body – and there will be some who define success based on their balance sheet.
Defining success by your standards is key, and the only standard that really matters.
The reality is women still live on average four years longer than their male counterparts, and those that marry older could easily have 10-to-15 years of financial independence. There is a lot of truth in the statement: no one will care more about you and your financial future, than you. In today's environment, no one can afford to abdicate financial responsibility to someone else.
How do you go about taking control of your financial situation?
A recent poll by IPC Private Wealth that surveyed 400 affluent Canadians with at least $500,000 in investable assets, revealed that 74 per cent of men say they are the lead financial and investment decision-makers in their household. Among women, only 46 per cent say they are the lead decision-makers, underscoring the need to involve women more in making decisions on money matters.
To become more engaged in making financial and investment decisions, Kathleen Peace, partner and Senior Financial Consultant at IPC Securities Corp, offers these ideas:
• Ensure you have online account numbers and passwords for all of the family’s accounts - his, hers, joint, and otherwise
• Take 10 minutes each month to review the family’s credit card charges and chequing account activity with your partner and ensure that you know and understand what each transaction is for
• Get to know your family’s financial planner/advisor and enlist their help in a) understanding your family’s financial situation and b) improving your financial literacy.
• If you don’t know your family’s advisor, change this! Call them up and book a meeting to get to know them (even though the advisor should really have already done this)
• If for whatever reason you feel uncomfortable with your advisor, express your opinion to your partner and consider interviewing for a new advisor, one with whom you both feel comfortable.
• If you don’t already have a financial advisor or planner - get one! A planner can help you to gain confidence, enhance your financial literacy, make a plan and stick to it.
• Excellent site for finding an advisor and for learning what to look for in an advisor: financialplanningforcanadians.ca
Women will continue to make strides in all aspects of their lives, and when we have our financial foundation in place, it can free us up to do the things that give our life more balance and meaning – and that is something to celebrate on International Women's Day.