This fall, while focusing on your physical fitness, why not spend some time on your fiscal fitness as well? Like fitness, when it comes to finances, setting goals is a key to your success. A recent Women & Co. study found that 93 percent of affluent women set financial objectives. To help you define your financial future, follow the five simple steps below from Lisa Caputo, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Women & Co., and Linda Descano, CFA®, President and COO of Women & Co.:
- Assess Your Health: Gather all important financial statements and review what you own, your assets, and what you owe, your liabilities. Look carefully at how you’re putting your hard-earned cash to work—what you’re earning, spending, and saving. Then set aside some time every few months to file important papers and keep them organized.
- Know Your Numbers: Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial health. It’s a primary criteria used by lenders to determine your likelihood of defaulting on a loan and that may impact your ability to get many types of loans, including a mortgage. Request your free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Set Your Goals: Once you know where you stand today, set goals. Short-term goals are those you’d like to accomplish within one year (e.g., pay off credit cards); mid-term goals, within five years (e.g., make down payment on a new home); and long-term goals, five years or more (e.g., save for retirement). Write these down, using the worksheet from Women & Co. to help you clarify and prioritize your financial goals.
- Protect Yourself: Maintain appropriate insurance coverage; keep your beneficiary forms for your 401(k), IRA and insurance up-to-date; and put your wishes in writing by executing a will, living will, power of attorney and health care proxy.
- Conduct Annual Check-ups: Review your finances at least once a year with your financial advisor. Keep in mind that life transitions such as having a child, getting married or divorced, or moving to another state, often bring with them financial, tax and legal implications.
Just like your physical health, your financial well-being requires on-going maintenance to stay in shape. Speak with a financial advisor or visit Women & Co. online to access a suite of financial education resources and a vibrant community of financially-minded women.