As I sat recently contemplating the work that I do with women, I kept coming back to the reality that what I do for them is to eliminate their feelings of overwhelm, whether it be about their financial security, planning for the unexpected, finding ways to help their children and grandchildren, dealing with a health crisis, etc. I found it a bit ironic, given that I myself am the biggest worrier I know (a gift bestowed upon me by my beautiful mother), yet I am able to shed this part of myself when in a position to help other women.
I love the following quote, because it is exactly what I do in helping others, and what I continually try to master for myself. Like everything, it takes practice…..
“I will breathe. I will think of solutions, I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don’t quit.”
I’ve met many women who have shared that the topic of Financial Life Management is of no interest to them, is left to their spouse to handle, or is just intimidating all around. The bottom line, however, is that 80% of women in the US will find themselves solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, due to loss of a spouse or partner. A more stressful circumstance is taking on this responsibility while caring for a spouse or partner due to illness, incapacity, etc. Women spend their lives working hard, being responsible for their families, planning for our children’s futures, and often for their own parents. As a result, they can suddenly find themselves navigating through the loss of a spouse or parent with no sense of the financial impact to their own future.
What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen? As I’ve shared with many women I know, it isn’t necessarily about learning the nuts and bolts of finance, investing, money management, etc. Sometimes it’s just knowing where to turn for help. One of the biggest relief levers we can pull is the one that tells us there is no shame in needing help. We all need support in some form or fashion, and we all give support to others in different ways.
Who Can Help?
It is a given that you should have an expectation that a Professional has expertise in the area in which they focus. But consider the following:
“People don’t always need advice. Sometimes all they really need is a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a heart to understand them”
While expertise is a non-negotiable, I would argue that the following should be as well:
- Financial Professional who will act as a Fiduciary
- An individual who you feel comfortable working with and who conveys empathy for your situation
- Professional whose guidance goes far beyond the “numbers”, helping with the “softer” often more important issues around planning for your family’s future
My best advice to women is to find the person who will do the worrying for them, so that they feel supported and have no doubt that someone has their back.