Women & Money: Tips for Financial Empowerment

Credit counseling CEO gives insights on money management

harrine_freemanSavvy money management skills are a necessity to weather these tough economic times. BlackEnterprise.com has got you covered with our supplement to the magazine’s three-part Women & Money series.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll have money management tips and strategies from Harrine Freeman, CEO and owner of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, a credit counseling service.

BlackEnterprise.com: Compared with men, are women savers or investors? Spenders instead of savers? What are some ways women can invest while still maintaining the security of saving?

Harrine Freeman: In many instances women are so focused on their children, spouses, career, and other issues they neglect to focus on their own financial goals and don’t begin saving or planning for retirement until their late 30s or 40s, which in some cases may be too late.

Men are better savers. Women are better investors. Women save later in life and invest more conservatively. According to Bankrate.com, in 2007 men were better savers overall, and with a savings of 81%, compared with a savings of 72% for women. Emergency savings funds for men were 53%, compared with 39% for women. Men gain more interest on their savings than women — 81% for men, compared with 70% for women.

Women live an average of 22 years after retirement and men live 19 years after retirement. After retirement women will need to save 2% more than men every year over 30 years to maintain their standard of living.  Women save later by two to four years and invest less than men.  Women invest 7.3% of their income and men invest 8.1% of their income.

Women are more fearful of losing money than men. Some women do not contribute enough to their retirement account — a minimum of 10% per month. Women can invest while maintaining the security of saving by:

–Create a budget to track spending. Include savings goals in your budget.

–Set long-term financial goals to include retirement planning.

–Set a retirement date and determine where you want to live when you retire and the lifestyle you wish to have.

–Talk to a financial adviser to map out a plan for your future. Review the plan every year and adjust as needed.

–Increase your retirement allotment with each salary increase.

–Educate yourself on investing.

–Sign up for your employer’s 401(k) and take advantage of employer-matching contributions–this is free money that helps your retirement plan grow.

–Create an emergency fund to cover 8 to 12 months worth of bills.

–Purchase a home warranty and maintain the warranty during your retirement years.

–You can also purchase your own IRA in addition to your employer’s 401(k) plan.

–Use automatic deduction for 401(k) allotment and to contribute to your savings accounts.