When it Comes to Finances, as Rodney Dangerfield Would Say, Women Still â€śDonâ€™t Get No Respectâ€ť.
For years I have been the â€śCFOâ€ť of my household.Â Â Over twenty plus years of marriage, I have paid the bills, done all of the investing, monitored the family budgetÂ and net worth, negotiated mortgages,Â and even have power of attorney for my husband, so that I can execute trades on behalf of him.Â We both have charities that are near and dear to our hearts, but we normally write a check for all of our donations from our joint account.Â Â Often, the thank you card we receive from the charity is addressed only to my husband.Â Â Ouch!
This monthâ€™s article in Financial Advisor magazineÂ â€śGetting Aheadâ€ť by Mitch AnthonyÂ struck a chord with me as I think our society often sends the wrong message about what it means to be successful.
Americans strive to do â€śbetter than the Jonesâ€™â€ť by earning enough money (and accumulating debt) to buy fancy McMansions, nice cars, and family vacations.Â But the never-ending pursuit of the trappings of wealth can get in the way of the truly important things in life such as relationships, job satisfaction, and extracurricular pursuits.Â Debt accumulation is often the end result of aspiring to acquire â€śstuff and thingsâ€ť so we can impress others and make ourselves feel like we have succeeded.Â Â Acquiring material possessions rarely leads to happiness.Â In addition to increased debt, it impairs our ability to provide adequate savings for retirement.Â Â In fact, research shows that the average American has very little saved for retirement.Â
Insurance, investing, estate plans….aspects of your financial life can be intimidating, but that does not mean that you should delay, deny, or disregard your situation. Â Instead, try to build your awareness by going through a quick audit to see if you are on track. Â In this radio interview with Jim Ludwick, on the Swim with Jim radio show we discuss the importance of annual financial audits.
Here are more details on how to conduct your own 10 minute financial audit.
A recent study conducted by Timothy Gubler and Lamar Pierce from the Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis shows that poor physical health is driven by the same psychological factors that determine whether or not you contribute to your retirement plan at work.Â Â See this related article in the NY Times:
In the study, employees who contributed regularly to their 401(k) plan were not only more likely to take steps to improve their health but also had a 27 percent improvement in their blood scores. â€śNon-contributors continued to suffer health declines,â€ť the paper said.
Many people are loathe to increase their cash reserves when the rate of return on cash accounts is miniscule.Â Yet cash may be the exact asset to bolster when markets are frothy and the economy is sputtering.Â Here are some recent articles that underscore the importance of having a stash of some cash.
Cash Holdings Finally Get Some Respect- Investment News
Having at least 6 months of living expenses is very important to protect you and your family from an unexpected event like a job loss, disability, medical emergency or even divorce.Â Although money market and checking accounts are yielding close to nothing, you can research on line savings accounts.Â Current yields are roughly 0.9% (9-14).Â You can compare rates, restrictions, bank ratings and other factors at either depositaccounts.com or bankrate.com.
Â “Cash combined with courage in a crisis is priceless.” Warren Buffet
Client meetings over the past year have been quite sanguine.Â Investments and assets are up. People seem to feel better about job security. Â The housing market is slowly recovering, and retirement projections look rosier.Â Strong stock market performance is good, in that it gets us closer to our goals; however, it can also breed a false sense of complacency.