The Financially Responsible Woman: Five Strategies for a Full Life

November 28, 2014

I have had the good fortune to help hundreds of women make sound financial decisions over the past 20 years.  Many are happily married, others divorced or widowed, and some have chosen to be single.  From all of these experiences helping women navigate life’s joys and challenges, I have learned there are five key strategies every Financially Responsible Woman (FRW) follows.  She…

Funds Her Bucket List

A FRW knows what she really, really, really wants – and what she does not.  She asks herself….What do I want to achieve? What am I missing? What matters most to me?  What if things go well?  What if things go badly?  She assesses where she is today, then quantifies and prioritizes specific financial goals in line with her unique values.  She makes sure she funds first the things she values most in life.

Has Courage to Talk about Money

A FRW does not back away from important – but sometimes daunting – conversations about money.  By initiating thoughtful and balanced discussions, she negotiates what she is worth at the office and creates a financially responsible family at home.  She and her significant other share with each other financial priorities, what they learned about money while growing up, mistakes made in the past, and their resulting money values; as well as sharing with their children to help them be financially independent..

Invests with Wisdom

A FRW understands basic financial terms, especially the power of compounding – both interest earned and how inflation eats away purchasing power.  She diversifies her portfolio with an allocation that is appropriate for her goals and risk tolerance, and is disciplined about rebalancing when stocks get too high or too low.  She does not let fear take over in bad markets or allow greed to sway decisions in bull markets.

Minimizes Her Tax Bill

A FRW structures her portfolio in the most tax-friendly way possible, understanding that it is important to carefully choose which types of investments to own in an IRA and retirement plans versus yearly taxable investments when they are owned individually, by her trust, or jointly.  She has considered whether a Roth makes sense for her and looks for opportunities to make the most of down markets by “harvesting” tax losses without changing her investment strategy.  She is strategic about her philanthropy to ensure she maximizes the tax benefits while supporting causes that she is passionate about.

Has a Plan B

A FRW has worked with an attorney to draft estate planning documents such as a will, trust, and powers of attorney in case of death or disability.  She manages risk through appropriate insurance for her and her family; understanding that she is more likely to become disabled than die before retirement age and that the average age of a widow is 56.  She thinks about potential long-term care expenses for elderly parents and herself. She believes that open and honest discussion about finances and money values before and after saying “I Do” makes a stronger marriage and keeps inherited assets or those earned before a marriage separate realizing that 41% of first marriages fail, 60% of second, and 73% of third.

A Financially Responsible Woman ensures that all of these strategies are executed with a careful balance of ownership and outsourcing – taking care of the tasks she enjoys and is comfortable with on her own and hiring experts for the rest.  She often chooses to hire an experienced financial advisor who she trusts and respects so she can ask questions, hand-off her biggest worries, and build a partnership for executing and updating her strategies as life evolves.  Then with wisdom and confidence she trusts her instincts and enjoys what is most important in her life.  To learn more about how you can implement these strategies for a full life, please watch our webinar though this link: or contact me at hlocus@bdfllc.com or 630-875-4904.

A wealth manager and owner at BDF, Heather L. Locus, CPA, CFP®, CDFA® founded our Women’s Service Team and leads our Divorce Practice Group.  She loves solving complex problems by balancing the financial and emotional components with tax and legal issues. Heather educates women and men on how to transition through new phases of life with confidence and peace of mind. She authored The Next Chapter: A Practical Roadmap for Navigating Through, and Beyond, Divorce and you can read her latest divorce tips at (Forbes Link). She has been named one of the Best-In-State Wealth Advisors by Forbes, a Five Star Wealth Manager according to Chicago Magazine and was named a Top 200 Wealth Advisor Mom by Working Mother.