Women’s Fund Fabulous Forum

Author: Theresa Flynn Gasman

Women and Money: Concrete Steps to Managing Your Biggest Financial Issues

We had a great turnout on February 25 for the second educational forum in our “Women and Money” series.  Thirty-five women gathered downtown at the spacious and comfortable Cedar Crest Brewery for the lunchtime panel presentation. The topic was “Mastering Your Financial Issues” and guests walked away with loads of information.  

Linda Lingo, CPA and Financial Coach, emphasized that a comfortable retirement requires that we accumulate 10 times our annual income in savings by the time we reach retirement age. And investing is the key. Women earn less money than men, are in and out of the job market over our lifetimes and live an average of five years longer than men. Ask questions, find the right person to help you and decide how much time and risk you’re willing to face. Linda says the simple act of investing is the #1 confidence builder, so it is important to just start!  

Courtney McElvain, Financial Advisor, shared that while women are less likely to invest in the stock market than men, they are more successful at it when they do. A good financial advisor will help you figure out what you need to be doing based on your life stage and whether you want a yacht in the Caribbean or full tuition for your kid’s college education. She urged women to interview potential financial advisors to assess if their style and approach are a good fit. Courtney likes the return you get from the stock market. She says that in order to invest with confidence, it’s important to develop sound strategies: 1) stick to your plan (but make sure it’s a good plan); 2) don’t overreact to swings in the market; and 3) take advantage of buying opportunities. Her advice was timely as fears related to the Coronavirus had caused a significant drop in the stock market as the women were speaking. 

We all know that financial issues can strain even the best relationships to the breaking point. Trisha Funk, Director of the Women’s Business Center at JEDI, maintained it is important for couples to come together, talk to each other and understand what is “enough” for them as individuals and as a family. This kind of shared understanding will make financial decision-making easier when life throws us a curveball. She also talked about the critical need to educate our children about money, and she did not mean merely learning how to balance a checkbook. In her “Pennies on Purpose” financial literacy program, offered at local schools, Trisha teaches concepts such as building your financial reputation (your credit score), developing the habit of saving by putting away something out of every paycheck, the precious time it takes to make money and the notion that money is a resource to steward. We get to decide what we want money to represent in our lives. Just imagine if more girls are exposed to these ideas at a young age! Money will not be a taboo topic for them and they will likely grow up with the confidence to manage and invest in their financial future. 

TWF members can look forward to more forums exploring the important topic of “Women and Money” later this year!