Money Mistakes Women Make – 3 Tips for Fixing Financial Blunders

Women make different money mistakes than men; these money management tips for women will help you get a handle on your personal finances. These tips for fixing financial blunders are from Lisa Caputo, Founder, Chairman and CEO and Linda Descano, CFA, President and COO of Women & Co.

“Research shows that women are taking on a larger role in financial decision making, functioning as the “chief financial officer” of their households,” says Caputo. “Women are influencing not just day-to-day spending and budgeting, but everything from how their families save and invest to achieve long-term financial goals, such as retirement, to where they are donating their money.”

To learn more about personal finances, click on Suze Orman’s You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It : Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When You Retire — it’s about financial planning, budgeting, and investing. And, read on for a few money management tips for women…

Common Money Mistakes Women Make

“Women tend to be more concerned that they’re not putting enough money aside for the future, and fear they’ll outlive their assets,” says Caputo. “Women tend to live longer, require long-term care services when they age, and take more time out of the work force to care for family members.  These financial realities make it more important for women to start saving early, save more as they earn more, and plan carefully for ‘time out’ periods.”

The first money mistake women make is not maintaining a financial plan. “The biggest money mistake that I see women make is investing a lot of time and energy into putting a financial plan in motion — only to never look at their plan again, thinking that they are done,” says Descano. “Financial fitness, like physical fitness, is a journey, not a destination.  It requires ongoing maintenance to stay in shape.” To keep your personal finances healthy, keep reevaluating your financial goals.

The second money mistake women make is investing too conservatively.  “Compared to men, women, on average, tend to invest more conservatively and be more focused on preserving their money,” she says. “Being too conservative, though, could put women at higher risk of outliving their savings because their money isn’t keeping pace with inflation. Protecting the purchasing power of one’s money is important for all of us, but it’s particularly important for women because they live longer.”

For more info about women and money, read Tips for Taking Charge of Your Finances for Women (also by Caputo and Descano).

3 Tips for Fixing Financial Blunders

“While it’s never too late to get your finances in shape, the earlier you start, the more options you’ll likely to have,” says Caputo.

1. Take a picture of your overall financial health.  To manage your money, pull together all of your financial information – legal and tax documents, investment records, retirement accounts, etc. – in one place. To start fixing personal finances, make sure you understand what protections are in place, today, for each account.

2. Get money management tips from experts, if necessary.  A financial professional can save you time in the long run.  Financial planners can help put a financial strategy in motion that balances your spending and your savings, based on where you are today and where you want to be next year, in five years and when you retire. For more info, read Tips for Choosing a Financial Planner.

3. Stay informed and involved in your finances. To avoid common  money mistakes, continue to build your knowledge about your finances and review your financial plan at least once a year.  Actively seek out the financial information you need.

For more tips, read Why Are Women Bad With Money? 7 Money Mistakes Women Make.

If you have any thoughts or questions about personal finance for women, please comment below…

Women & Co. is a financial resource program from Citi, dedicated to helping women achieve their financial goals.

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  1. Buying tickets to spend three days in the desert while listening to a rock festival can make someone happier than buying the new smart phone, according to a new study led by SF State Assistant Professor Ryan Howell.

    Howell, alongside SF State alumnus Graham Hill, conducted a study that concluded buying life experiences would give consumers more happiness as opposed to possessions, because it gives them a sense of being alive. Unlike life experiences, possessions might be forgotten over time, Howell said.

    The study began 16 months ago and was finished last summer. It will be published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, although the time of publication is still pending.
    The study was a surprise to Howell. His initial thoughts were that people wanted to buy life experiences for social needs, such as spending time with friends and family. However, the study suggests that people are happier with experiences because it gives them a sense of being alive.

    Hill, who met Howell in his senior year, was also surprised at the role reflection played in happiness.

    “People tend to adapt to material objects very quickly, whereas experiences seem to stick with people longer, and make them happier when they think back on them,” Howell said.
    The study was conducted through a survey created by Howell and Hill, using students from a study pool at SF State.

    Howell said he was intrigued by the link between happiness and income after he and his wife interviewed poor Malaysian farmers about their wealth and life satisfaction.

    “I conjectured that when individuals live in affluence, they would need to spend their income on purchases which would satisfy their psychological needs in order to be happier,” Howell said.

    Given the current economic situation and the decrease in discretionary income, Howell said that depending on the person, people would be more inclined to buy experiences if they were looking for escapism.

    “If you haven’t had your basic needs met, then you should be spending your money on food and shelter,” he said. “If you[‘ve] got your needs met and you purchase an iPod, you still are not going to be happy because that’s not going to fulfill your basic needs.”
    Even students who are short on cash can buy happiness, said Hill.

    “It didn’t matter how much money people spent on the experience, they still received the same increase in happiness,” Hill said.

    “So for students, who usually don’t have a lot of extra money, something as simple as going to a coffee house with friends, or going out to a movie, can contribute more to their happiness than spending a lot of money on something like a pair of jeans or sunglasses that might get tired of in a few weeks,” he said.

    Source: San Francisco State University press release (Feb 18, 2009).