This is a sponsored post.
Recently, I attended Wescom Credit Union’s’ seminar on Women & Investing as a brand ambassador. Wescom hosts complimentary financial education seminars to educate its members and communities on financial topics such as Women & Investing. Its goal is to give its members the right resources and tools to achieve investment success.
I found this seminar interesting since female entrepreneurship is a trending topic. However, no one is talking about how women can achieve financial success after launching their dream businesses. I have to confess, I have neglected my savings plan since I started working as a consultant and blogger. This seminar was a great reminder of how important it is to invest and the time is NOW.
Wescom is a credit union and financial services institution that has been serving Southern California for nearly 85 years! In addition to financial education, Wescom also offers essential banking services to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in SoCal like checking and savings accounts, and auto and home loans, plus retirement and investment accounts. As a not-for-profit credit union, Wescom is owned by its members and therefore passes along its excess earnings in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and lower fees. This differs from banks that are in business to make a profit for their stockholders.
Women & Investing
Right now is the best time for women to invest. Even though women make 82% of what men earn, women are earning more money than ever before. Yet, more American women end retirement in poverty. There are a few contributing factors: women earn less money (as mentioned above), they need money to stretch further since they are caregivers for family members, women don’t always manage their finances and women invest conservatively (less risk = less return). Of course, not all women face these challenges. We are all different with different circumstances.
The following are steps suggested at the seminar that women can take to achieve investment success:
1. Take control of your money
The first and most important thing is to set a budget. It’s something I NEED to do. By budgeting, you know how much money you have coming in vs. going out so you can manage debt and live within your means.
Then you will need to establish an emergency fund (Wescom advisors suggested 3-months of expenses).
2. Become a more knowledgeable investor
Educate yourself on basic investment information, understand what you own and the ways to manage risk. More importantly, check your retirement plan regularly and know all of your passwords. The Wescom Financial Advisors said they come across so many women who don’t know their accounts’ passwords since someone else managed their accounts.
I wish they taught personal finance in school. This way, we would be more educated on the topic. However, there are so many resources out there that can help you set investment goals and determine your risk tolerance.
3. Advocate for yourself in the workplace
More women need to negotiate salary, speak up on accomplishments, ask for raises/promotions and ask for a flexible work schedule. When I started in the workplace, I had no idea that you could negotiate salary. I thought it was fixed. Over the years, I learned that I could negotiate salary and ask for promotions at performance reviews. So, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask for what you want in the workplace.
4. Plan for retirement
The earlier you start, the better. Don’t come up with excuses, just invest. Your future self will thank you and me. If you work for a company that offers a 401k plan, I would suggest contributing the maximum amount especially if the company matches your contributions. It’s like throwing money away if you don’t. If you are self-employed, you can speak with a financial advisor that can suggest the best IRA account for your income.
5. Protect your income and assets
You can protect your income and assets by investing in life/disability insurance, auto & home insurance and health insurance. If you are self-employed, setting up the correct business entity can also protect your assets.
6. Create an estate plan
Consider executing essential estate planning such as will, trust, power of attorney, and health-care proxy.
It’s easier to work with a financial advisor that can help you understand your investment options and implement the right retirement plan for you. Trying to educate yourself on investment strategies can be difficult like taking a college course. It’s better to work with someone who is already knowledgeable about investment matters. Since Wescom is a credit union and not concerned with making a profit, their financial professionals really desire to help their members achieve financial success. Wescom also has a community feel. It seemed as if the financial advisors know their clients personally. At the seminar that I attended, there were women there who hadn’t even opened an account with Wescom yet. However, the financial advisors took the time to answer their questions.
In addition to helping you build a better financial future, Wescom is also committed to giving back to the communities it serves through its #WescomKindness program. This includes things like surprising SoCal residents on the streets, at movie theaters, restaurants and food trucks with free treats, as well as sponsoring numerous community events throughout Southern California. I attended the Sherman Oaks Street Fair in October, which was sponsored by Wescom. The event featured live performances, 200+ exhibit booths by local businesses, a cocktail lounge, food trucks, carnival rides, and a Kid Zone – basically, fun for ALL. This is only one of the ways that Wescom invests in its communities.
Biggest takeaway: BUDGET. When I worked at corporate banking, it was easier to invest since it was deducted automatically from my paycheck. Since I became a consultant/blogger (aka self-employed), it has been much harder. That’s why budgeting is so important. This way, I know how much my expenses are and how much I can save. I’m making this a priority for the upcoming year.
If you’re ready to take the next step in achieving financial wellbeing then please call Wescom at 1-888-8WESCOM (1-888-893-7266), visit wescom.org, or click here to open an account.
What is your biggest takeaway? Comment and let me know if you already invest.
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