Wealth Column: Women and wealth – Brainerd Dispatch

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Historically, investing and retirement planning have been especially challenging for women. Women live longer than men, highlighting the risk of women outliving their money. Plus, career interruptions from having children can sideline women from their most productive earning years. Furthermore, wage disparities persist — in 2022, American women typically earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to a

2023 Pew Research Center study

.

That said, women are taking less of a backseat regarding their family’s wealth management and investing decisions. In 45% of American households, women

now earn as much or more

than their male partner.

Women

start more businesses

than men, and single women are more likely to own their own home than their single male counterparts. And perhaps most tellingly,

the share of wealth controlled by American women

is expected to increase to $30 trillion by 2030.

One opportunity for women to explore goes beyond these numbers to present a new, values-based approach to accumulating and managing wealth that captures the way that women tend to view the subject of wealth and money. Values-based planning is a holistic approach that integrates your core values into the planning process.

Unlike traditional financial planning, which can focus primarily on numbers and financial targets, values-based planning emphasizes the importance of aligning financial strategies with your life’s values and aspirations. By intertwining personal values, life goals, and financial strategies to craft a retirement plan that’s unique as a fingerprint, values-based planning favors the way that most women think.

How to identify your core values

At Wealth Enhancement Group, we’ve been strong proponents of the Values Exercise developed by Think2Perform, a leadership coaching, consulting, and business development services firm. The Values Exercise is a card-sorting activity anyone can do to identify their values (find it online at

think2perform.com/values

).

The Values Exercise takes you through four steps, beginning with sorting 51 cards into two piles — one whose cards fit you well, and those that don’t. (Examples of values cards include Health, Family, Wealth, Autonomy, and so on.) Through the process of elimination, you whittle down your keep pile until you have just five that remain. These final five represent your core values, which you then use to guide the remainder of your values-based planning exercise.

You don’t have to do this work on your own! Collaborate with an adviser

If you work through the exercise, you’ll discover that the identification of personal values is a bit of a journey, but it can be transformative. Working with an experienced financial adviser can help you along the path.

Advisers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table — and can help you translate your values and vision into concrete investment and planning strategies, no matter where you are along that personal path.

You need to have a plan and a guide

Even if you think you already have a plan that considers your beliefs, values, and goals, you may need help with some of the finer points related to tax, investments, and legal, such as:

  • How can you align what’s important to you with money?
  • How will you generate sustainable income in retirement?
  • How will you plan ahead for tax liabilities?
  • What do you want to leave behind as a legacy for your heirs, or causes you believe in?

If you believe that working with a financial adviser could be helpful, it makes sense to interview at least two candidates before you make the hiring decision. If you know a trusted friend or family member who uses one and has had a good experience, ask for a referral.

As part of your research, seek answers to these questions: Can you have a conversation with this person? Did they seem to care about you? What is the adviser’s experience and expertise? Has she been through at least one recession? Does she focus on one specialty, such as retirement planning, or is she more of a generalist? What are their training and credentials? Are they a certified financial planner, certified financial analyst, or certified public accountant?

A great fiduciary adviser should be able to demonstrate their worth many times over in several important areas of your financial life, including marrying your values to your investments.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on News Radio 830 WCCO on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at [email protected]. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.


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