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Financial Planning for Women in Akron-Canton Ohio

Canton Ohio woman sitting on her couch writing her financial goals on paper next to an open laptop on her coffee table

When it comes to financial planning, women have unique considerations. For example, they often live longer than men, which means they need both short-term financial goals as well as a longer-termed retirement plan. Additionally, women are more likely to take time off from work to care for children or aging parents, which can impact your financial security down the road. 

That is why it is so important for women of all ages to be proactive about setting financial goals and creating a financial plan. By making the right financial decisions now and in the future, there are numerous ways in which it can help you pursue your long-term financial goals. 

This guide includes information about the importance of:

  • The power of financial literacy
  • Setting objective financial goals and milestones
  • Think long-term (vs. the here-and-now)
  • Understanding your risks 
  • Retirement income and expense strategies
  • Taxes and retirement considerations
Chapter 1

The Power of Financial Literacy

Ohio businesswoman giving a presentation in a boardroom

The first step in winning any game is understanding the rules: Improving your financial literacy is a must for women pursuing financial freedom. Does becoming financially literate mean that you have to go back to school? Absolutely not! 

While some people may consider this option, you may be better served working with a  CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional in Akron, Ohio, who can converse with you about various personal finance and financial education topics. 

Why seek the services of a CFP® professional to assist you with your financial literacy learning? As a successful woman with many responsibilities (work, family, etc.) you probably don’t have the necessary time to dedicate to learning about investing and personal finance. The more successful you become, the less time you may have. 

You want to feel confident when meeting with your financial advisory team so always ask questions if you are not comfortable with a recommendation or a topic that you are not familiar with. This makes understanding concepts like your net worth, or tax planning strategies much easier for you as you work with your trusted CFP® professional. 

A qualified financial planner should listen to your questions rather than rattle off a lot of industry jargon. You should work with a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals who listen to your questions and provide responses that are clear, concise, and not filled with technical industry jargon.

Should you need to assume financial responsibility for a family member or spouse, having the financial confidence to work with the wealth management team overseeing their assets is another reason why it’s important to feel comfortable talking about personal financial topics.

Many affluent and high-net-worth individuals and families have more complex financial situations. This is another example where financial literacy can assist in mitigating poor financial decisions that could impact your financial future. 

On a brighter note, incorporating your new-found financial knowledge into your retirement planning process could mean more than just preventing losses. Only “death and taxes” are guaranteed, but pursuing investment strategies through the right fiduciary wealth manager can improve the odds of your financial well-being. 

Chapter 2

Setting Objective Financial Goals and Milestones

As you gain confidence with your understanding of all things investing-related, the next step is identifying your short and long-term financial goals and milestones. You have to know what your financial goals are in order to begin mapping out a long-term plan for reaching them. If, for instance, you want to spend your retirement relaxing on a beach in the Florida Keys, your savings, investing, taxes, and every other aspect of your financial life should be focused on meeting that objective. 

The recent impact of inflation and market volatility is cause for you to reassess both your financial goals as well as your retirement plans. There are many tactics you can take during periods like this to protect your wealth. The first step is meeting with your financial planning firm to understand what impact, if any, the economy is having on your financial plan and what tactics should be deployed now to protect your hard-earned assets. 

The recent economic headwinds may not cause you to adjust your lifestyle right now, however, it may impact how you retire based on the total principle you have saved and the purchasing power of those funds. 

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “Will I outlive my money in retirement?” The key to this question is proper financial planning. Without a roadmap to guide you through various stages of life, you run the risk of veering off course when an unexpected event happens or there is a major economic change that impacts your retirement savings. 

A well-prepared financial plan for women should include a careful assessment of milestones and goals that are important to you. These allow you to both measure your progress and celebrate shorter-term accomplishments. The financial plan should also assess your current income, your spending habits, and your likeliest spending habits after your retirement.

It should also factor in the likeliest what-if-s. Unfortunately, sudden illness, the loss of a spouse, and other unforeseen live events happen every day somewhere. Wiser financial plans include these possibilities, just in case. 

Chapter 3

Think Long-Term (vs. the Here-and-Now)

Ohio professional woman with her arms crossed content because of her retirement savingsIt is never too early to plan for your retirement. Similarly, it is never too late, either. Even a late strategic response to today’s economic uncertainty tends to do more good than pretending that it will go away tonight. Therefore, take some time to consider what your life may look like 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

Avoid pessimism, but be realistic. Long-term planning may include talking about uncomfortable topics (like the what-ifs mentioned in the section above). If it helps, think of this like planning an ocean voyage: No one wants a fire aboard the ship, but without taking extinguishers and hoses, just in case, your odds of reaching your destination are, clearly, lower.

Chapter 4

Understanding Your Risks

In addition to considering your portfolio and savings, you should assess how much insurance coverage you have with the help of a financial advisor. Healthcare costs for seniors can be profound today—and long-term care is getting even more expensive.  Sadly, some retirees wind up having to downsize and take other measures to compensate for the unexpected expenses.

It is important to think through various scenarios that may impact you over time. In a perfect world, insurance against things like malicious lawsuits would not be necessary, but it is. The hard truth is that any one of us is a sympathetic court away from a judgment for millions—because a passerby slipped on a dusting of snow in your driveway.

Similarly, if you own a business, you are probably aware that you can be liable for mishaps. If you run the day-to-day operations of your business and someone has an accident, having the correct disability insurance coverage or life insurance in place would be wise. 

Even a well-prepared retirement plan can be impacted by unforeseen events. Generally speaking, keeping as thoroughly insured as you can tends to keep headaches fewer and farther between. Sufficient comprehensive insurance coverage can help cover gaps in any part(s) of your financial, personal, or business life. 

Chapter 5

Retirement Income and Expense Strategies

Canton Ohio retired woman balancing her checkbook at her coffee table

The good news is that none of this process has to be painful. We believe in a plan-for-the-worst-and-hope-for-the-best approach to financial planning so you don’t experience a financial disaster that sufficient planning could have prevented.

That is why you want to consider what your probable monthly retirement income will be like after leaving the workforce: How much money will you receive—and from which source(s)?

Typical sources of retirement income from retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans, traditional IRAs and/or a pension. Social Security is also another source of retirement income. As a woman, your marital status can have an impact on the amount of benefits you receive (divorced or widowed) so be sure to discuss this with your retirement planner. Although the Social Security fund’s long-term solvency is up for debate, it only makes sense to include that money in your income projections. 

The overall, combined amount of monthly income can be a working concept of your probable retirement paycheck. This can be used to define the kind of lifestyle (for instance, where you live) you should be able to afford. Your financial planner can also assist in preparing a retirement budget that outlines all of your related retirement expenses. The sooner you know this, the more financial options you have available today for saving to pursue the type of retirement you’ve dreamed of. 

Chapter 6

Taxes and Retirement Considerations

At some point in the financial planning process, you should factor your tax liabilities into the equation. There are two chief reasons behind this:

  1. A wealth manager can potentially save you money by limiting your tax liability (how much you owe). In fact, the longer the period of time over which your taxes are strategized, the greater your potential savings. This is where much of the beauty of comprehensive financial planning shines: By utilizing IRS-authorized tax credits in your business finances, your personal finances, and back-and-forth between them, you could wind up owing much lower smaller tax bills every year. 
  2. Your filing status will vary according to whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed. In some cases, this may even affect how much you are assessed as owing. 

These are just a few of the reasons why it pays to familiarize yourself with the unique specifics of your situation as early as possible. Once you know these, you can begin to strategize your taxes, for example, leveraging tax-deferred accounts to reduce your tax-bracket income. There are advantages to paying now rather than later—and vice versa—in some cases, as well. 

Chapter 7

Financial Planning: What Women Should Know

Ohio business woman typing on her laptop reviewing her financial plan

Generally speaking, wealth that is proactively managed is more likely to be wealth that is kept, long-term. There are multiple factors that can make a completely hands-off approach to your money a financially self-destructive choice today, as well: Inflation is raging, markets are volatile, and supply chain issues hinder nearly every commercial industry, in some instances, lowering the value of companies’ stock. 

Inflation lowers the purchasing power of money. This means that we cannot be certain that the same amount of goods or services that are obtainable with $1,000 today will be the same in the future. Come tomorrow, for example, we might need $1,500 to purchase what used to cost only $500 to purchase. 

As a result, ensuring that you are able to retire in as comfortable of a lifestyle as you enjoy today requires planning ahead, financially. There are a few key considerations that women should take into account with regard to proactive wealth management. 

First, financial independence is something that all women should take measures to protect—regardless of their age. A comprehensive financial plan can help you implement long-term saving and investing strategies. At the same time, having a retirement plan can also help you track the success of any economic or life events that occur along the journey to your overall monetary goals. 

These factors, combined, can improve your odds of continued affluence, both now and in the far future. Second, you need to be aware that financial planning changes as you go through different life stages: What works in your 20s might not work in your 30s or 40s, and so on. For example, investors’ risk tolerance tends to lower as they draw closer to retirement age. 

Should women financially plan to live to 100? That depends upon your health, activity levels, medical ancestry, and more. Nevertheless, it is generally a good idea to plan your assets and savings for a longer lifespan. This makes seeking out financial advice that is tailored specifically for women at your current stage of life important. 

Third, retirement planning looks different for women than it does for men. Women tend to live longer, so your retirement savings are going to need to last longer. Again, a woman is more likely to take time out of her career for caregiving purposes, as well. All of these things must factor in to fully cover all of your financial bases. 

Chapter 8

Anticipate the Unexpected

Akron Canton businesswoman sitting at her desk smiling because she has a financial plan

No female is born knowing the future. Nevertheless, wealth management for a financially independent woman should include asset protection, as well. Unfortunately, economic and market activity is not the only potential drain on your nest egg. Many affluent people have learned this the hard way after their dog bit someone—or a passerby fell, crossing their driveway, and then decided to file a lawsuit.

Even the most seemingly innocuous of incidents is only a sympathetic court away from winning a massive settlement against you. When that happens, there is precious little that we can do to limit the damage. However, a proactive approach can make a profound difference. It may help to think of yourself as digging a financial storm shelter. 

The key is preparing well before we see lightning in the distance: An asset protection trust, for example, can shield aspects of your wealth from lawsuits and creditors. Sometimes it can even protect your estate, after you pass away, from judgments against it. The only real drawback to measures like these is that they cannot be left until the last minute. 

Chapter 9

College Will Cost More and More

piggy bank wearing a mortar board thanks to successful college financial planning in Ohio

As we’ve explored, planning ahead is an important step for women to take with their finances. If you have children or grandchildren, you probably want to send them to college. This doesn’t come cheaply today. It is almost certain to cost more as time goes on (even if inflation were not also a factor now). For added peace of mind, you can consult with a financial firm that specializes in affluent families on the best ways to plan for college education savings options.

If you are looking for ways to fund your child or grandchild’s education, and are also looking to reduce your tax liabilities, then a 529 plan is a good solution. Sometimes referred to as a qualified tuition program (or a Section 529 plan), this is essentially a tax-advantaged account for saving to pay for someone’s college costs.

Technically, anyone can open one, but they are typically utilized by a parent(s) or grandparent(s) to benefit a minor. By “tax-advantaged,” we mean that the money you put in grows with the taxes deferred: Provided your withdrawals are exclusively for education costs meeting the IRS standards, you do not have to pay state or federal taxes on them. 

As the plan’s donor (and an Ohio resident), you are also eligible to deduct some of your state taxes for the contributions you make, as well. The max per beneficiary was $4,000 when this article was written, but that is always subject to change from time to time. Some women also choose to help their children by making a gift of money or property. 

If they qualify for financial aid, this can reduce the amount of student debt they will have to deal with. It is important to talk about finances with a college-bound son, daughter, or grandchild early on. 

We Proudly Offer Experienced, White-Glove Financial Planning for Entrepreneurs and Businesswomen, Too

Chapter 10

Plan a Retirement Worth Looking Forward To

It bears repeating: A comfortable lifestyle of affluence right now is not a bankable indicator of the manner in which you can retire (or that your retirement income will support). The best way to avoid having to downsize and cut back in your golden years is to start preparing now; well before you reach your retirement age.

The first step is determining how much you need to save. This can be a difficult task because it requires you to project your expenses in retirement—and then estimate how much income your savings and assets will produce. You can do this by using online calculators. However, we believe consulting with a financial professional is preferable.

Next, you need to figure out how much to invest in your portfolio. This may not be as simple of a task as it sounds, due to current stock market volatility. What might have been a solid choice during periods of lower inflation, such as fixed-rate bonds, may be prone to losses now. 

A knowledgeable investment advisor can answer your questions, helping you empower yourself to make informed decisions. At the same time, regardless of your investment strategy, be prepared to wait, even when headlines make you feel anxious: Investing is, fundamentally, a long-term endeavor. Making rash, emotional decisions can actually lessen your chances of reaching your desired financial destination. 

Successful women investors are often those who have developed the capacity to take a deep breath and a step back, internally. This is because overall, the stock market’s behavior is largely cyclical. As frustrating as today’s volatility can be, it normally calms with time. Like storms at sea, these periods typically wind up as unpleasant memories beneath sunnier skies.

There are buying opportunities in volatile markets but it’s always best to talk with a qualified financial professional about the best course of action for your situation. 

Chapter 11

Manage Your Risks

It bears repeating: A comfortable lifestyle of affluence right now is not a bankable indicator of the manner in which you can retire (or that your retirement income will support). The best way to avoid having to downsize and cut back in your golden years is to start preparing now; well before you reach your retirement age.

The first step is determining how much you need to save. This can be a difficult task because it requires you to project your expenses in retirement—and then estimate how much income your savings and assets will produce. You can do this by using online calculators. However, we believe consulting with a financial professional is preferable.

Next, you need to figure out how much to invest in your portfolio. This may not be as simple of a task as it sounds, due to current stock market volatility. What might have been a solid choice during periods of lower inflation, such as fixed-rate bonds, may be prone to losses now. 

A knowledgeable investment advisor can answer your questions, helping you empower yourself to make informed decisions. At the same time, regardless of your investment strategy, be prepared to wait, even when headlines make you feel anxious: Investing is, fundamentally, a long-term endeavor. Making rash, emotional decisions can actually lessen your chances of reaching your desired financial destination. 

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, measuring, and responding to events that could potentially harm your portfolio. It helps you avoid making mistakes with your investments or savings that could result in losing both money and time when planning your financial future. It requires constant attention and a careful understanding of the associated risks.

Familiarity with the ways in which they can potentially be lessened helps, as well. Especially if you are planning for retirement or have retired from full-time employment, you should know the role risk management plays in wealth-building. It is also important to understand that risk management is not a one-time thing. It needs to be reviewed regularly—and updated as needed. 

While you can do this yourself, oftentimes it is much more effective when it is done with the help of an experienced professional financial planner. For example, he or she can help you make sure that your investments are properly diversified. This means that your portfolio is optimized to avoid putting all of your money into a single company, industry, or type of asset. 

For example, if you invest in just three stocks and one of them goes bankrupt, you could lose almost half of your retirement savings overnight. Meanwhile, if your portfolio has been diversified across different types of investments (including bonds, stocks, commercial real estate, and/or commodities), the losses from any single investment are unlikely to endanger your entire nest egg.

Ideally, managing your risks as an investor also includes a healthy understanding of your risk tolerance. This refers to the amount of losses that you are willing to ride out on investments. It varies for every person: A woman in her 20’s may find higher risks acceptable because she is still young enough to make up for losses before she retires.

Conversely, a woman in her 40’s may need to be more conservative in choosing assets, since she has less time to recoup lost equity before leaving the workforce. It may be in her best interest to pursue steady returns at lower risk. It all depends upon the needs of your unique personal situation and how easily you could shrug off a bad investment, were it to lose significant market value. 

Just as different medicines are prescribed for different people, a financial strategy based integrally upon one person’s risk tolerance should not be considered one-size-fits-all. This is an important aspect of financial planning for women by life stages. Please consult a financial advisor if you do not feel certain of your best option. 

Chapter 12

Prepare a Solid Legacy

Ohio woman holding a watering can watering a symbolic money tree

Another component of comprehensive financial planning is estate planning. When choosing a trustworthy financial advisor, you should confirm that they have experience in assisting women with creating estate and legacy plans. This is the process of deciding how to distribute your assets after death. It is important for everyone, but especially for single, divorced, or widowed women. 

An important part of estate planning is avoiding probate; the legal process that must be completed when someone dies without a will (known as intestacy). Probate can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, depending on how much money you leave behind. One of the easiest ways to avoid your estate going into probate is by making sure you have a will in place. 

It should outline your wishes for how your assets should be dispersed when you pass. If you and another person jointly have ownership of your funds, that person could take over ownership after your passing and sell or liquidate anything not protected by a trust. 

After you pass away, your beneficiary is assigned control of the estate permanently. 

This means that you can use the money in your ILIT to pay off debts, make charitable donations, or make gifts to loved ones. The chief advantage over a traditional revocable trust is that when you die, your heirs do not have to go through probate. That, potentially, saves them both time and money. 

In addition, an ILIT is designed to avoid state inheritance tax. Although Ohio does not have one, out-of-state heirs may be spared from having to pay any taxes on the money in your trust when it is passed down. 

Chapter 13

Avoid Going It Alone

Ohio financial advisor shaking hands with an Ohio business woman

After factoring in both your current and future phases of life, the next most important thing we can suggest may be hiring an experienced wealth management firm in Canton, Ohio. Sometimes the wisest thing you can do for yourself is delegate. That is why the idea behind financial advising is to utilize the assistance and financial-industry-experienced insights of a professional.

As a fiduciary financial advisor, McGervey Wealth Management operates transparently and accountably. Ours is not a set-it-and-forget-it approach, either. Instead, we provide concierge financial services, education, and financial literacy training upon request. Our goal is to partner with—and empower—you; never to talk down or dismiss your financial concerns.

We take pride in helping successful women like you thrive financially through financial planning, tax strategies, retirement planning, and more. That is why we are ready to help you learn how to plan for retirement, protect your assets, and streamline your business finances. 

Additionally, we can assist you with ensuring that your legacy is not left vulnerable by unexpected events such as a divorce or unforeseen health care costs. We excel at financial planning for women in Akron-Canton, Ohio. Contact us today to get started.