When it comes to investing and managing household finances, women’s roles have evolved. Just as the number of women in the workforce has drastically increased over the past several decades, so too has the number of women who have taken on the responsibility of their family’s finances. In fact, Allianz’s 2016 “Women, Money, & Power” study reports that more than half of women – 51% – are now the household Chief Financial Officer (CFO), responsible for saving, financial planning, bill paying, and investing.
The study goes on to reveal that more married women report being the primary breadwinner of the family (37% in 2016 versus 31% in a 2013 version of the same study). While this is good news for women, other studies have shown that due to increased longevity and healthcare costs, women still need to save more than men to ensure they have adequate retirement savings. Given that fact, below are some points to consider when acting as CFO of your household to help ensure your long-term outlook remains sunny.
Create a budget to manage cash flow – Step one as the household CFO is to establish an achievable budget. Ensure that your cash flow is positive, and that you automatically save a portion of that positive flow. If you find yourself with a negative cash flow (spending more than you are earning), create a debt payment plan to get back on track.
Plan for the unexpected – Tracking day-to-day spending is important, but consider how your short-term finances will affect your long-term picture. Having an emergency fund can help you to stay on track when an unexpected situation arises.
Pull in experts when necessary – Managing the household finances is more than cash flow planning. It includes estate planning, retirement planning, tax planning, education for your children/grandchildren and all types of insurance. You may find it easier to complete these elements of your financial plan with help from people who are focused on a specific element.
Communicate – Schedule a regularly occurring set time to discuss your shared finances with your family. Make sure you are still on the same page about what your goals are, and what progress has been made toward meeting those goals. Update your goals as necessary. It is also important for the non-CFO to know about the family finances, how to access the assets, and what recurring bills/payments need to be made for those unexpected/emergency situations.
Now, more than ever, women have the ability to shape their financial future. Whether you are the acting CFO of your family, or would rather outsource the job completely, Manning & Napier can help. Our experienced team can work with you and your family to develop a comprehensive plan to meet your specific needs and will coordinate with the professionals necessary to implement the plan.