Professionally speaking, women entering our 40s and 50’s typically are reaching our peak earning years. However, at this stage of life we also start facing the reality of becoming the “sandwich” generation; an honorable distinction that comes from having aging parents and growing children. As we move through these years we should see our net worth steadily rise. Yet, for some of us the opposite has been true as the financial obligations at this time tend to be stretched between ever increasing college expenses, a hot real estate market for first time homeowners, along with the possible need to help aging parents financially with increased health care costs.
So, what are we to do?
The following simple ideas will help you move into a positive, productive and proactive mind set.
First, take an inventory of your assets and liabilities along with your income and expenses.
Knowing the up to date value of your assets versus your liabilities will provide an accurate net worth calculation for you. It will also give you the opportunity to see what you own, where it’s located and if it is still titled appropriately. On the liability side, you should know what interest rate you are paying on each OWE item and make sure you are accelerating payments if at all possible, on the highest interest rate items first.
Next, we’ve all heard that we should spend less and save more but do you really know what you’re spending money on? If you just answered, “not sure” you need to take action.
Start by tracking your spending over a period of 30 days (most of my clients never make it past the first week which is still better than not doing this at all). Track all income, whether it’s the direct deposit of your paycheck or the interest earned on savings. Everything gets tracked for one month!!
Then, subtract your expenses and spending from the total income you received and see what the results are. One of two things will happen here:
A negative result (negative cash flow) means you’re spending more than you earn. You’ll need to go over every item on your expense and spending list to see what is necessary and what is not. Eliminating just a handful of the frivolous expenses can make a huge difference in the outcome.
A positive result (positive cash flow) means you are spending less than you bring home which is great. Still, reviewing your expenses again can prove to be a good exercise in eliminating any frivolous spending. This housekeeping exercise can free up cash for other more worthwhile endeavors or future savings.
Next, organize your portfolio.
If you have an investment portfolio you may be familiar with the term “asset allocation.” It is the strategy of diversifying or dividing your investment capital among the major asset classes of equities or stocks, fixed-income securities or bonds, and cash equivalents and it is an important approach no matter what life stage you are in. Most importantly, it is vital if you aren’t working with an investment professional who’s managing your portfolio on your behalf. Keep in mind, your asset allocation strategy should be based on your goals, your tolerance for risk, and your time horizon. It will also require modification or rebalancing over time. Generally speaking, the larger the equity portions of your portfolio, the greater the potential for growth and the greater amount of risk. On the other hand, the more fixed-income securities you include, the greater the potential for income and preservation of principal. There are risks associated with all investments whether they be equities or fixed-income investments. Fixed income securities generally incur less risk than equities. I plan to address this issue very closely in future newsletters as well as tips on how to speak with your financial advisor to get the most out of your partnership. During both times of turmoil or smooth sailing, having an open line of communication with the entire team of professionals who work for YOU, is vital. Finding trusted advisors who understand your unique circumstances, who will listen to your concerns and address them to your satisfaction is key to organizing your portfolio.
Finally, protect what you’ve accomplished.
As your wealth grows, it’s important to preserve what you’ve accumulated and safeguard your future. That’s why estate planning and risk management are two of the cornerstones of a sound financial plan. A qualified financial professional can help you implement an estate plan that is best for your situation or review an existing plan to ensure it is still consistent with your goals. Also, be sure you have enough protection in place to help cover any liabilities — such as your mortgage, college savings, etc. and protect your family’s financial future.
Financially speaking, mid-life shouldn’t be a time of crisis, but rather a time to take advantage of some of your most productive years. As members of Kalon Women, we are all looking for opportunities to grow, reinvent ourselves and test unchartered waters. Managing your finances need not be the one subject you keep pushing away to attend to later but rather one to embrace now as another facet of who you are. Market volatility or not, gaining control over your finances will help ease your mind and free you up to pursue what Kalon Community is all about – find the beauty in side of you.
Ronit Rogoszinski is a Senior Wealth Advisor with SlateStone Wealth, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individuals.
For additional information pertaining to SlateStone’s registration status you may contact the SEC directly. A copy of our ADV Part 2, written disclosure brochure, which describes our business operations, management, services and fees is also available upon written request from SlateStone.
To contact Ronit please feel free to reach her on 800-773-9282 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronit Rogoszinski has been demystifying investment strategies for individuals, families and business owners for over 25 years. Specializing in transitioning widows and widowers, pre-retirees and divorced individuals through major life changes, Ronit’s expertise is translated to actionable, prudent strategies that are customized to each individual’s unique situation. As a result, Ronit has become a trusted advisor to her clients, developing lifelong friendships while partnering in the management of their financial plans.