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Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retirement

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, Chad Smith and Mike Eklund unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor. Proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.
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Now displaying: Category: Women
Oct 5, 2020

We know the COVID-19 global pandemic has affected everyone in unique ways. Today we want to discuss how this health crisis has affected women, specifically financially.

Video recap: https://youtu.be/beT8B1DSKZY

As working mothers, we have felt the impact of these daily changes acutely. According to Goldman Sachs “single parents, parents with young children and parents who can’t work from home are the groups most at risk to stop working entirely because they have no child care.”

Pre-pandemic the US labor force was split roughly 50/50 between men and women. However, women’s participation rate has always been directly tied to accessible childcare and pandemic-related job losses have disproportionately impacted women. With most schools resorting to distance learning and many childcare options off the table, families are struggling. Many solutions include working mothers putting their careers on hold. According to a study by the US Census Bureau, women are 3 times more likely than men to have left their job due to child care issues during the pandemic. This has negative implications for both the economic recovery and women’s future financial health.

We already know women face unique financial challenges due to three main issues:

In the current health crisis, these disparities have had more severe implications for women of color and millennial women. Sadly, these financial differences compound over time and can have devastating effects. As women grow older, they are also more likely to face poverty. According to the Social Security Administration 17.3% of nonmarried elderly women are living in poverty today. The figure below illustrates the higher poverty rates women over 65 experience in almost every category: 

An article in the New York Times posited that this “Pandemic Could Scar a Generation of Working Mothers.” If that happens it also has the potential to increase the pre-existing retirement challenges women face later in life. While these trends are discouraging, the stakes are higher than ever for women to take control of their financial futures. The current situation also presents new opportunities as companies are more open to hiring a diverse workforce outside their local network. This is one silver lining of the pandemic: companies now have an expanded talent pool to choose from. If your current employer does not allow the necessary flexibility, you may be able to find a better fit. We recommend the following checklist to help you stay sane, maintain your earning power, and safeguard your finances:

We recognize there are no easy answers right now when it comes to meeting increased care giving demands while balancing career aspirations and financial stress. If you have questions about the best way to balance these changing demands with your long term financial goals, please contact us to speak with one of our financial advisors. We have four female advisors who are passionate about these issues and would love to help you position yourself for financial success.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:27] Challenges women are facing during the COVID-19 crisis
  • [4:30] How has the pandemic affected women’s spending?
  • [8:32] One benefit of working from home is working from anywhere
  • [11:22] Work-life balance is a new struggle for many women
  • [13:32] This checklist can help you stay sane during these trying times
  • [15:58] What are you doing to stay healthy?
  • [20:33] It’s okay to accept help

Connect With Chad and Mike

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Apr 22, 2019

Financial advice has long been a male dominated industry.  Women represent 51% of the US population, but only 23% of CFP® professionals are women and this percentage has stagnated over the past decade.  Why is there a feminine famine in financial planning?  Today we’ve invited Allison Berger and Grace Kvantas back on the show to discuss the 6 main challenges that prevent women from becoming financial advisors. As we shed light on these topics, we share ways we are fighting against these stigmas.  We also celebrate Grace as the latest partner of Financial Symmetry. Listen to this episode to hear why there aren’t many women in financial planning but also why that should change.

See show notes here: https://wp.me/p6NrVS-3ar

Why did Grace become a financial advisor?

Grace is a rarity among women in the field.  She knew that she wanted to become a financial advisor at the age of 15.  Her dad was a CFP® and it was at that young age that she realized that she was taught money lessons at home that many others never received.  She wanted to help others learn what her dad had taught her. In college, she learned so much more about finance, but she still didn’t understand the depth of what one learns as a CFP®.  It was only on the job that she began to understand all that a financial advisor really does.  Listen to this episode to hear about Grace’s journey to becoming a CFP®.

What does it take to become a CFP®?

Many people don’t know the difference between a financial advisor and a CFP®.  The CFP® designation is the standard of excellence in financial planning.  Becoming a CFP® takes a bit of work. You must have a bachelor’s degree and take the coursework first prior to taking the CFP exam. Candidates also need to have 3 years of qualifying experience or 2 years working directly with CFP professionals. After obtaining the CFP designation, Certified Financial Planners must maintain continuing education.

Why is financial planning a great field for women?

Now is a fantastic time to become a financial advisor. The average age of financial planners is over 50 and ⅓ of advisors are projected to retire within the next 10 years.  Women are uniquely positioned to excel as financial advisors in the years ahead.  Listen to this episode to hear why 72% of women who pursue the CFP® designation report high levels of career satisfaction.

Why aren’t more women in financial planning?

We walk through the CFP Board whitepaper detailing recommendations to increase the number of women CFP® professionals and the reasons women are not pursuing this career path.

  1. You can’t be what you can’t see.  Financial planning is not top of mind as a career path for many women. Grace and Allison discuss their efforts to increase awareness and encourage others to consider financial planning.
  2. There are misperceptions about the work.  Most think that this career path is very math heavy. Make no mistake, the CFP® exam and coursework require math skills and you will use math every day in this field.  However, math is only one tool in the process toward helping clients reach their goals.  Successful financial advisors also require the ability to build relationships and counsel clients as life changes.
  3. Women’s own behaviors may be holding them back. This phenomenon was detailed in Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” which we discussed in Episode 73.  Women may not feel as comfortable taking the career risk this industry may require.  This is a multi-faceted issue but learning more about the inner workings of the career can help break down these barriers.
  4. Gender discrimination and bias exist in the field.  Unfortunately, there are still biases and many women don’t feel welcome in the industry.  Both Allison and Grace are sometimes asked if they are someone’s wife or secretary.  The good old boys’ network is still alive and well in financial planning, but this is changing, and it is easier than ever to connect with other women on this journey.
  5. Work/Life Balance is not an issue.  When asked to respond to the statement, “Financial planning offers good work/life balance,” only nine percent of Men and 10 percent of women disagreed.  Contrary to popular belief, work-life balance is no longer a predominantly women’s issue.
  6. There are not enough female role models. Grace and Allison are working to change that.  Listen to this episode to find out where to turn for helpful advice and encouragement.

Resources & People Mentioned

  • WIN CFP - The CFP Board’s women’s initiative

Connect with Grace Kvantas and Allison Berger

Connect With Chad and Mike

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Dec 3, 2018

Working moms face a difficult balance. People often feel that most women have a choice whether to work outside the home, but the reality is, 65% of families need both parents to work. Women in the workforce is a family issue, not simply a women’s issue, so this episode is useful for more than just women. Allison and Grace join us again to dive into the topics of gender bias, women in the workforce, and they provide helpful strategies and resources to help anyone that is struggling with how to balance it all.

Women face both internal and external gender bias

Studies have found that as women achieve more success in the workplace they lose their likeability. This can make it a challenge for women who want to chase success. Even directly out of college women seem to start out behind men as they begin their careers. Only 7% of women negotiate their first salary whereas 57% of men do. Men are often rewarded for their drive and ambition while those same traits in women are considered self-serving and greedy. In Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, she gives useful advice on how to make the most of your career and motherhood. Discover how to overcome your own gender bias on this episode of Financial Symmetry.

What is truly essential to you?

Working moms aren’t the only ones that seek the perfect work-life balance. But is work-life balance a myth? One way to bring more balance into your life is to consider what is truly essential to you. Once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all then you can make your highest contribution to the things that really matter. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown inspires readers to prioritize what they really need. This book can help you reconsider what is essential in your life. How can you reconsider what is important to you? Listen to this episode to hear more about this book and other resources for working moms.

How do successful women spend their time?

Some people seem to be so great at managing their time. What Laura Vanderkam discovered is that when you focus on what matters to you then you will make time for what you want. She emphasizes that time is elastic and you can stretch it to get what you need out of life if you prioritize what is important to you. We are all given the same amount of time in a week, it’s how we use our time that counts. Successful women get paid for the quality of work that they do, not the hours that they put in. How do you prioritize your schedule and make time for what you really want?

Discover resources for working moms

As you come back to work after having a child your life changes immensely while that of your husband doesn’t change much at all. Even though men often take time off of work, they are not faced with the same kinds of difficult decisions that women face. When returning to work you have to consider how much you will miss your kids when you go back. You have to decide whether you should you stop your career and stay at home or continue to work. Those that normally cheer you on now question all of your decisions. Listen to this episode of Financial Symmetry to find some fantastic resources for working moms.

Outline of This Episode

  • [3:49] There are gender biases both internally and externally
  • [12:45] What is essential to you?
  • [17:12] How do you strike a balance with your spouse?
  • [23:50] Can you achieve more by doing less?
  • [30:10] How do successful women make the most of their time?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Grace and Allison

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

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Jan 29, 2018

Studies show that most women don't think of themselves as having financial savvy. Honestly, it's a very sad situation but one that is improving as years go by. In this conversation, you will hear some of the latest statistics about the improving state of women's finances, the causes behind these improvements, and what any woman can do to grow to be savvier when it comes to financial planning.  But the Financial Symmetry team isn't going to stop there. Allison Berger and Grace Kvantas present their Top 10 Financial Tips For Women and explain why each one is important.

If there are women listening who have a goal to increase their financial savvy, this is the episode they should listen to.

Women Face Financial Challenges Men Don't

It's not an exaggeration at all to say that women face unique challenges when it comes to building wealth and managing their finances in a way that leads toward a secure retirement. In this conversation, Allison and Grace highlight 3 challenges women face that men do not. First, nationwide, women tend to be paid less than men. Second, women tend to live longer which means the finances needed over their lifetime and retirement is greater than that of men.  Third, women have the opportunity to become mothers, which means time out of the workforce that men don't experience. Don't miss this insightful episode that highlights how women can address the challenges effectively and increase their financial savvy.

Analysis Paralysis: Road Block to Wealth Building for Women

We are coming out of a cultural period when women were not typically encouraged or expected to be very savvy when it comes to finances. That leftover mindset has caused many women to feel overwhelmed at the thought of understanding or managing finances which in turn, causes analysis paralysis to set in. But the good news is that women don't have to be paralyzed with overwhelming fear when it comes to building wealth and planning for a secure future. This episode highlights 10 of the first steps women can take to grow their financial knowledge, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Struggling With Guilt

Many women struggle with guilt regarding finances: “If I have less, someone else will have more.” The reality is that the opposite is almost always true. In general, women tend to be empathetic and helpful toward the people in their lives. That wonderful trait can take a bad turn though when it causes them to believe that making a meager living will enable someone else to have more. That is an entirely false belief in light of the facts. Building wealth for yourself and your family enables you to have the resources to be a benefit to the people who truly have needs. Being wealthy doesn't take from others, it enables you to be a blessing. Find out more about this backward mindset and how to reverse it, on this episode.

Tracking Cash Flow is Vital

Knowing what your earning and spending allows for more control. It's one of the basic principles of budgeting and money-management but many women are not diligent about doing it: Track your cash flow. You can't grow to be savvy when managing your finances if you don't know what is coming in and what is going out. In this conversation, Allison and Grace provide a number of financial tips for women in hopes that the things that keep them from being confident about building wealth and a secure future can be overcome through practical steps that anyone can accomplish. You will enjoy the practical and common sense approach they take on this episode.

What You’ll Learn In This Episode

  • [2:13] The alarming stats surrounding women and wealth
  • [3:33] 3 particular challenges for women when it comes to building wealth
  • [7:06] Underconfidence bias: how it impacts women building wealth
  • [8:52] Characteristics of women investors and societal trends that impact wealth building
  • [17:21] Stats that demonstrate the problem women face when attempting to build wealth
  • [18:57] Things are changing in culture, education, and earnings
  • [21:58] The benefits of having a 3rd party in a couple’s financial conversations
  • [25:33] 10 Tips for women when it comes to finances

Links Mentioned In The Show

The Top 10 Financial Tips for Women

  1. Get started today - don’t wait for a crisis to force you into it
  2. Have a way to view all of your accounts and account statements
  3. Know your benefits: it’s not only up to your spouse, become informed
  4. Make sure you have your name on at least one account (checking and credit cards)
  5. Think long term: investing your money, investing in yourself, planning for success
  6. Track your cash flow: know what’s coming in and what’s going out
  7. Drop the ball: let go of the expectation that you have to do everything
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help
  9. Maintain your network. You’ll need it throughout your life
  10. Know your estate scenarios: What will happen if someone passes away?

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Connect With The Financial Symmetry Team

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