Questions Women Ask
No two women – or their lives – are the same, but many women have similar questions about their money. Here are just a few we frequently hear.
Q: My adult children have busy lives, and I don’t want to be a burden to them if I get sick or need care. How can I prepare ahead of time to make sure I get the care I need?
A: As women, we’re great at caring for others – and not so great at accepting care for ourselves. Many of the women we talk to worry about being a financial or physical burden on their kids, especially in the event of a short-term or long-term health crisis.
A crucial component of your Lifestyle Protection Plan® addresses how to pay for long-term care services, should the need arise. We assist you in making decisions about who you want to provide care and where you want to receive it. Then we’ll look at all the options for funding health care costs later in life, including long-term care policies, Medicare options, savings, and more. Using those options, we’ll structure a plan that works best for you.
Q: Through the years, I have helped my children and grandchildren financially. Is there any way I can make sure they get financial help, even when I’m gone?
A: We applaud you for looking ahead and wanting to help your loved ones. There are a few ways you can pass money to your kids, grandkids, and other beneficiaries. The trick is to pass that money to them without saddling them with a large tax bill. Fortunately, there are a variety of options for this, including life insurance. In your Estate Plan, we help you identify where you want your assets to go after you die and make sure they’re distributed according to your wishes.
Q: I’m thinking about taking time away from my career to take care of my aging parents. How will that time off impact my retirement income?
A: Women are more likely to take time off from their careers to care for loved ones, whether it’s kids, parents, a spouse or other loved ones. It frequently impacts career trajectory and how many years you spend in the workforce. Unfortunately, that leads to not only reduced lifetime earnings but also lower Social Security benefits in retirement.
We highly recommend talking with your financial advisor before making any major life decisions. She can help you weigh out the pros and cons and provide an objective opinion. She can also run the numbers to show you how time off from working could impact your retirement.
Q: I inherited quite a bit of money, but I’m not sure what I should do with it. Is that something you can help me with?
A: Absolutely. When you inherit money, you also potentially inherit additional tax liability. And there are all the questions that come with the inheritance: Should you put it in savings? Spend it? Invest it and make it grow?
Before doing anything with your inheritance, it’s wise to speak with your financial advisor. She can help you develop a strategy to put the money to its best use, including ways to reduce potential tax liability and keep more of your inheritance for you.
Q: I just got divorced, and many of my retirement accounts and policies still have my former spouse listed as the beneficiary. How do I change that information?
A: Unfortunately, we have seen instances where women haven’t updated their beneficiaries after a divorce or death of a spouse – and their money ends up going to an ex or winds up in probate. We recommend reviewing your beneficiaries at least once a year or any time you have a significant life change, such as a marriage, divorce, new child or grandchild, or death of a loved one. You might also need to make updates when your beneficiary has a life change, especially if their name or address changes.
Accounts that might have associated beneficiaries include 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs, life insurance policies and annuities. Your checking, savings and other investment accounts might also have designated individuals who have access to your money upon your death.
We can assist you in reviewing your beneficiaries on each account and preparing the paperwork to make sure each account is set up according to your wishes. We also work with other licensed professionals who can prepare or adjust your will or trust as needed.
Q: I’ll be eligible for Social Security benefits when I turn 62 next year. Should I start taking them as soon as I’m eligible or should I wait?
A: The short answer: It depends. When it comes to Social Security, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It all depends on your personal situation, including your retirement savings, marital status, current health and family history, and more.
While it’s tempting to start taking Social Security benefits as soon as you’re eligible, you could be leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table – money you might need in retirement. On the other hand, if you delay taking benefits and die earlier than intended, you could miss out on taking the benefits you’ve earned.
We examine all the factors around taking Social Security benefits, helping you make an informed decision about the best timing for your life.
Q: My grandchildren are in college, and I’d like to give them some money for their education. Is that a good idea?
A: Awww…what a nice grandmother! We love to see our clients helping out the next generation, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize their own financial future.
If you’re financially able to do so, you can give money to individuals and organizations. But before you do, you should be aware of certain limitations, including how much you can give before creating a taxable event for you and them. Our advisors stay up-to-date on the dos and don’ts of gifting, so check with your advisor before writing any checks.
Q: I want to invest, but I also want to avoid losing a lot of money. Am I better off just putting that money in a savings account where I know it’s safe?
A: All of us handle risk differently in all areas of our lives: Some of us enjoy the adrenaline rush, while others strive to avoid it altogether. It all comes down to personal preference.
Investing does include risk – but it’s also a great way to put your money to work for you. While you’ll never be able to eliminate risk from your investments entirely, there are things you can do to make sure you’re not taking too much risk with your money. We can work with you to build a portfolio that aligns with how much risk you want to take, giving you peace of mind that your money will be there when you need it.