This weekend, I got just what I needed – a swift kick in the seat of my financial pants. Thanks to the brilliance of keynote speaker Valerie Coleman Morris, and the generosity of the many sponsors, including Prudential, Bank of America, CHET, and TD Bank, over four hundred women (and a few brave men) raised their financial literacy level at the 2014 Money Conference for Women. This was the 12th year that this fabulous free conference has been hosted by the YWCA Hartford Region, in conjunction with the office of Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut’s State Treasurer.
Women need to get money smart
Additional insights that I garnered at the 2014 Money Conference for Women included:
- Build your wealth over your lifetime by paying yourself first. There are many ways to finance a college education, but few to finance your retirement.
- You won’t spend money that you don’t see. Automate your savings every paycheck. If you can, save at least 10% of your income and put it towards your retirement. The earlier you start, the more it will grow, and grow, and grow.
- Shred everything with your name and address on it. A confetti-style shredding machine will help to protect your identity from theft. In fact, Valerie gives away Shredders as wedding gifts.
- Get organized around your money. Get a little notebook and record everything you buy. Record date, item, purpose, and how you paid. At the end of the month, tally it up. See if you can identify the mandatory expenses (needs) versus the discretionary spending (wants).
- Your health and your earning potential are two of your greatest assets.Protect these assets with insurance. Term life insurance is generally affordable. Health insurance and disability insurance are more expensive, but necessary.
- Ask your financial planner HOW they get paid, how they earn their living.
- Get a will or a living trust. Basic estate planning is important, especially during major life changes. Know who you’ve listed as beneficiaries (unless you don’t care if your ex-husband’s new wife gets all your hard-earned assets).
- Make a copy of everything that’s in your wallet (front and back) and put it in a safe place.
- Check to see if you have any unclaimed property/money in EVERY state that you have every lived in, and using every version of your name. Search to see if there is any money that belongs to you at https://www.unclaimed.org/.
- Protect your passwords. Save them in a SAFE place. Don’t share them.
- Never co-sign anything for anybody for any reason. Never…never.
- Have regular conversations with your spouse /partner and family about personal finances.
- Don’t allow relatives, friends or adult children to guilt-trip you into taking care of their financial mess.
- Set firm ground rules if you have adult children or elderly parents who are boomeranging back into living at home again with you.
- Find a money buddy. Identify people whom you admire in the way that they handle their personal finances. Learn from them.
Money Rule #88: Spend more time building a legacy than an inheritance. What is more valuable: leaving $20,000 to your kids, or instilling a work ethic that lets them earn an extra $20,000 a year? – Jean Chatzky, author of Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security
Additional resources to help you get money smart and confident
- www.LightBulbPress.com – for guides, booklets and cliff notes on key financial literacy matters
- www.FeedThePig.org-a national public service campaign sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Advertising Council. The goal of the campaign is to encourage and help Americans aged 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.
- Money Rules, by Jean Chatzky. This quick read book with 94 no nonsense rules about managing your personal finances. FREE Kindle Download or just $5.20 to purchase soft cover book on Amazon.com
About Valerie Coleman Morris
Valerie Coleman Morris is a former CNN domestic and international business anchor, Peabody Award winner, three-time Emmy Award winning journalist, and creator of the long running national radio column “With the Family in Mind” on CBS Network Radio. Morris is a professor in the Multimedia Communications Department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California and an author. Her first book, “IT’S YOUR MONEY SO TAKE IT PERSONALLY®”, provides doable, incremental ways for individuals and families to start “banking on the future”: building wealth and passing it on to the next generation. Learn more about Valerie at her web site: http://valeriecolemanmorris.com/