As we celebrate International Women’s Day this March, it’s important to note that more and more women are taking control not only of their own finances but their family and households’ as well, says Boitumelo Mothoagae, Liberty Financial Adviser.
As they become more empowered, women are increasingly playing a more equal role in the managing of household finances, often becoming the financial decision makers in their families.
According to the South African Banking Association 6.9 million women were employed in South Africa in the second quarter of 2015. Many of them now play an active role in the planning and managing of their family’s budget.
Mothoagae notes that as a result, it has become even more important for women to understand the value of money management and principles such as saving for retirement, monitoring spending and tracking their current investments.
“The starting point should be a short visit to a financial adviser, a role which remains ever so important for women today. They are able to guide you efficiently and advise you on ways which will assist in managing your money in a way that you have sufficient funds to live the life you choose, and ultimately letting your money work for you,” says Mothoagae, adding that there are some important questions you should be asking your adviser on your first visit to discuss your long term investment strategy.
What is my overall financial position?
If this question isn’t initially asked by your financial adviser, you need to ask them. It is imperative that every woman knows what her net worth is, and through a comprehensive financial needs analysis you can establish what your overall financial status is. Remember without this knowledge, you won’t know if you’re making progress towards your goals.
This question becomes more important should you be in a position where you have recently become divorced or widowed. By disclosing your current financial situation to your financial adviser, he or she can assist in creating the necessary contingency plans so you will be prepared should circumstances change.
How long do I need to plan/save for?
Because women in general tend to live longer than men they need to plan accordingly. This is critical in the decision making process with your financial adviser, as you need to ensure your retirement savings and income stretch further and last longer. However, this can be challenging given that in general women also tend to choose safer, lower yielding investments which results in lower returns. So, in order to avoid running out of capital, one needs to understand the risks associated with their investments.
What kind of investing personality am I and what is my appetite for risk?
Are you a risk averse or a risk loving investor? Can you accept fluctuations in the markets, or are you prepared to invest for the longer term and generally have a hold strategy? This all depends on your financial situation and your financial goals. Try stick to your plan; after all, that’s the reason you have a plan in the first place.
What about the cost of investing?
Your financial adviser should be as transparent as possible when it comes to the disclosure of fees and the taxes payable. This includes any product, portfolio or adviser related fee, as well as upfront and on-going fees. Fees and tax vary depending on the investment vehicle selected; and it is imperative that these are outlined to you when you take out a policy.
How often would we meet to review the goals in my financial plan?
This is an important part, if not the most important part, of a good, solid financial plan. You need to visit your adviser regularly, at least once a year, in order to be able to measure and track financial your progress, as well as the probability of success in reaching your financial goals. Your financial adviser will play a fundamental role in helping you on this.
Says Mothoagae: “If you can get reasonable answers to these questions you are on the right track to taking control of your finances and creating financial security and peace of mind for yourself and other members of your household.”