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Women need to learn more about investments

Tracy Tutag and Jeffrey AppsVail, CO, Colorado

How much do you know about investing, ladies? Do you rely on someone else to take care of your financial future? Do you put off thinking about retirement planning, estate planning and other financial matters because you have too many other priorities? If you do save and invest, are you saving enough and investing wisely?If you havent taken charge of your financial future, consider this: Eights of 10 women will have to manage their money at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for Women and Retirement Research. The worst time to learn about financial planning is when there is a crisis divorce, death or other major changes in your life situation. The good news is that women make great investors, in part because they tend to take time to choose their investments and stay with them, instead of chasing or dating the latest and greatest investment opportunity.Investing philosophyWhen women manage their own money, they are often very good at it, sometimes even better than men. A study by the National Association of Investors Corporation in 2000 showed that all-womens investment clubs achieved average annual returns of 32 percent since 1951, versus 23 percent for all-mens clubs! Women are potentially better investors because:Women ask questions. Women tend to be more systematic about investigating investment options. Unlike some men, some women arent afraid to admit they dont understand. There is a stereotype that men dont like to ask for directions-whether on the road or investing. While certainly not true of all men, there does seem to be a greater willingness on the part of women to ask questions before they take action.Women tend to stay the course. Investment success means riding the ups and downs of the market and women are more likely than men to do so. Many men operate on more of a timing mentality, buying and selling with the crowd. The first stepsIf youve never managed your money, now is a good time to start. There are hundreds of good books and Websites on the fundamentals of investing (some written specifically for women). Even married women whose husbands do all the family investing should at least be aware of what those investments are. If youre married, make sure you know as much about your familys finances as if you were managing the money yourself, because you may have to some day.Finding a trusted financial advisor can be a great help. Here are some questions you should be able to answer with the help of a financial professional or on your own.How much money do you need to save for short-term goals (emergency funds, new car, etc.)? How should that money be invested?How much do you need to invest for long term goals (college for kids, retirement)? How much should you add to your savings each year? What kinds of investments will help you reach your goals? What is the potential risk and potential return of these investments?How often should your investment mix be examined? When should you make changes? Should you have a retirement plan separate from your husbands?What would the consequences be in the event of a divorce or death of the primary earner? Do you have an estate plan? Is it up to date?Do you have provisions for the financial care of dependents (children, aging relatives) in the event something should happen to you or your partner?Like any skill, successful financial planning takes a willingness to learn and some experience. After all, you didnt become an experienced driver overnight, either. Just as with learning to drive, it may take some time to get the hang of managing your finances. Working with a trusted financial advisor can, and should, be an educational and rewarding experience.Jeffrey Apps & Tracy Tutag sell securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC) 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600 and offer annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. They can be reached locally at 926-0601 or tracy.tutag@axa-advisors.com.


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