Diary of a CFP® Pro: March — Celebrate International Women’s Month with Six Ways to Embrace Mindful Financial Planning

This month’s insight from Marguerita Cheng, CFP® Pro: I love March because it is Women’s History Month. When it comes to financial planning, women certainly have something to celebrate. For many women, long gone are the days of letting her husband do all the planning and investing. 

Reality check: The demographics of women have changed rapidly over the last half-century. Women are now a prominent component of corporate America and the global business landscape. Their emergence as leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators has made them an integral part of our country’s economic health and the future of international business. More women are taking stewardship of family and business finances.

Women also are often seen as intuitive, thoughtful, and compassionate and can use these qualities to their advantage as they plan.

Here are some things to be mindful of:

  1. Let go of baggage.  We all make financial blunders; it is part of being human. A dodgy business deal has gone askew, or a personal mistake such as paying a late fee on a credit card can happen. But sometimes, women take such mistakes as evidence that they are incompetent regarding financial management.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Think of each day as a new beginning; nothing is permanent or beyond correction.
  2. Take money lessons to heart.  Women need to understand where their attitudes and habits about finances come from and write another story where necessary. For example, as a young girl, you may have watched your father gamble money away or spend foolishly as your mom remained quiet. This could inspire you to be more assertive in matters of the wallet.
  3. Recognize your needs and motivations.  Money is a major motivational factor. Some people view it as a sign of status or defining success. To be mindful, women need to understand what motivates them to spend and save money. Be realistic about your needs and wants and identify and prioritize your financial goals.
  4. Don’t lose sight of what you value.  The financial choices we make determine what’s essential. Buying the latest designer bag, for example, may sound like fun, but take a step back and think about how you want the future to look. Will making this purchased place your financial independence or retirement savings at risk?
  5. Consider how others may impact your finances.  Women also often put others’ needs ahead of their own. For example, a friend of my family is a 68-year-old widow who recently lost her husband to ALS and is currently caring for her 99-year-old father. She also raised four children –which implies that her work history may be shorter due to family responsibilities.  This, in turn, has likely impacted her retirement savings and the amount of her Social Security benefits. Think about the details of your situation and how it might affect your financial planning now and in the future.
  6. Don’t ignore risk.  Market risk describes the fluctuations in security prices due to market activity and expectations. But the market risk is not the only factor affecting your balance sheet or financial well-being. Because women have longer life expectancies and often lower retirement account balances than men, they also need to be mindful of inflation and longevity risks. For this reason, women mustn’t invest too conservatively. Age 60 is the new 40. Take my grandmother, who lived to be 94 years old: she ate Greek yogurt and did yoga in the ‘70s before it became cool.

The bottom line: Trends change and so do demographics. Mindfulness can help everyone—especially women—become better investors and plan for financial security.

Photo (top): Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Khalid Karman (Arabic: توكل عبد السلام خالد كرمان‎ Tawakkul ‘Abd us-Salām Khalid Karmān; also romanized Tawakul, Tawakel[ (born 7 February 1979) is a Yemeni Nobel Laureate, journalist, politician, and human rights activist. She leads the group “Women Journalists Without Chains,” which she co-founded in 2005. She became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. In 2011, she was reportedly called the “Iron Woman” and “Mother of the Revolution” by some Yemenis. Learn more: Flickr.com creative commons

Stay tuned for next month’s installment of Diary of a CFP® Pro!

About Marguerita M. Cheng: Rita is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Ocean Global Wealth.  She has also been a spokesperson for the AARP Financial Freedom Campaign and a regular columnist for Investopedia & Kiplinger. Previously, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an analyst and editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan.

Certifications: CFP® professional, Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, Retirement Income Certified Professional®, and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. As a Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) Ambassador, Marguerita helps educate the public, policymakers, and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning. She serves as a Women’s Initiative (WIN) Advocate and subject matter expert for CFP Board, contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP® Certification Examination.

Awards: Ameriprise Financial Presidential Award for Quality of Advice and the prestigious Japanese Monbukagakusho Scholarship. In 2017, she was named the #3 Most Influential Financial Advisor in the Investopedia Top 100, a Woman to Watch by InvestmentNews, and a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE®) by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC).

Rita volunteers for several organizations: CFP Board Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) hearings, she has also served on the Financial Planning Association (FPA) National Board of Directors from 2013-2015 and is a past president of the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area (FPA NCA).

Click here to learn more about Blue Ocean Global Wealth and email Marguerita today!

Blue Ocean Global Wealth headquarters:

9841 Washingtonian Blvd., #200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
301.502.5306 / 888.731.3117 (fax)