In society today, it's still not uncommon for women to think that men should handle the finances and that they should just "trust" that everything is being taken care of. Patrice Washington, Founder and CEO of Seek Wisdom Find Wealth, a personal finance training and development firm in Atlanta, Georgia and author of "Real Money Answers For Every Woman," talks with Retirement News Today about her book, which teaches women that they need to be in the loop about everything that has to do with their finances, regardless if they have a mate.
Washington stresses the importance of women maintaining legal documents of any kind, from trusts to birth certificates. It should be anything that proves who you are and any contracts or documents that are binding you to any agreements with anyone. Everything should be in one place so that should anything arise, you can put your hands on them immediately.
While women will often take the first step in getting a will in order or opening up a retirement account, after that initial paperwork is taken care of, it's filed away and never looked at again, Washington says. As women move into different phases of their lives, they need to be checking in on things, whether that's done quarterly or annually. Those documents need to be reviewed so they "still speak to who we are and where we are," Washington says, as something that was created years ago may no longer provide the support that's needed today. It's also important to make sure that the power of attorney you had initially chosen is still the person you want to be in charge of your affairs.
The number one problem women have, Washington believes, is not trusting themselves to know what's going on. Working with women of different ages every day, Washington says they all say they're not good with money, no matter their age, and that they'd rather have someone else take care of it. Many women think men are better with money and allow them to take charge, which often ends up not working in their favor. Trusting that "you can do it and be in charge of your financial affairs," is one of the first things Washington tells women. At the very minimum, she recommends women stay as involved as possible, so that they're fully aware of what's coming in and what's going out and how their financial affairs are being handled.
Washington is a big advocate of having your financial team in order so that you can always have a "trusted, go-to team" in place. She advises women to build a team to include an estate planner, an attorney and a financial advisor or accountant. To build this team, she suggests reaching out and getting some referrals from trusted sources. It's important to go in for a free consultation now and see if they are a good fit and if they can be trusted. When the time comes that you'll really need their services, you won't be scrambling to find just anyone and you'll be working with someone with whom you've already established a relationship, she says.
Patrice Washington is the Founder and CEO of Seek Wisdom Find Wealth, a personal finance training and development firm in Atlanta, Georgia and author of "Real Money Answers For Every Woman." She spoke with Retirement News Today, providing online retirement news video content and is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.