Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Women and Finance: What You Need to Know

In our many years in business, we are often asked about the topic of financial advice for women. While in theory it seems like financial advice should be relatively gender-neutral, the reality is that is simply not the case.

There are several reasons for this. One of which is the statistically proven fact that women tend to live longer than men. Statistics Canada's most recent life expectancy stats show that - on average - women outlive men by 4-5 years.  

While this may not seem like a huge gap, imagine the amount of challenge a woman might face if, at age 79, she was never a part of the financial and retirement planning discussions in her household and suddenly needed to be responsible for it all. Financial planning can be a complex topic at any age, but certainly more so as we advance in years and are dealing with the loss of a spouse at the same time. 

If you're interested in digging a little deeper into your own future, you can try out Canadian Business Magazine's Life Expectancy Calculator for some insights into what you can expect based on factors like height, weight and physical activity.  While obviously no tool can predict the future 100%, for financial planning purposes, this is a good exercise.  How can you plan how much you need for retirement without a reasonable estimate of how many retirement years you have ahead of you?

The second reason financial advice for women often needs to be approached differently from their male counterparts is the simple fact that for many generations, the teaching of these skills were simply not part of the educational process for women, both at home and in school. In recent years, especially with the increasing average age of marriage and the improved accessibility and democratization of the investment world (thanks to online trading and online banking), women are becoming both highly educated and empowered to take control of their own finances.  

Did you know that in the early 1970's the average age a woman married was just 22 years old? Compare that with 2008 when the number had risen to over 29! Imagine how much financial management needs to happen in those 7 years as an active income-earning member the workforce.

With additional complex factors affecting many couples, such as separation or divorce, stepchildren or the family businesses, the legal details can become very overwhelming - especially if any information comes as a surprise. With women entrepreneurship on the rise, it is important to factor-in how to protect your retirement planning from any challenges your personal business may face.  Peter Andreana, one of our experts at Continuum II Inc, recently explained to The Globe and Mail how important it is to mitigate those risks. Read more of his comments for entrepreneurs in the full Globe and Mail article.

It is for all these reasons that we consistently strive to reach out to our female clients and ensure they are a true participant in their wealth management, financial planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. Leaving these matters to fall on the shoulders of just one spouse is not ideal. Being active and engaged in the process early on removes the challenge of getting up to speed later in life, and it certainly minimizes any uncomfortable surprises coming to light at that time.

We're excited to kick off the first of our Women Client Appreciation Events with a Girls Night Out & Dinner at Stir Kitchen Store in Burlington, Ontario. This special evening will combine some valuable and empowering financial planning information with a night of culinary learning led by a professional chef. Clients will be invited to bring a female friend or relative to help spread even more knowledge and awareness of these vital issues. Watch for details coming to you soon via email, or give us a call at the office at 905-332-6633 to put your name on the list for this limited space event! We will be running more of these special events for our much-appreciated women clientele in the future, so don't worry if space fills up this time!

Latest Feature Article: The Insurance and Investment Journal

At Continuum II Inc, we're always thrilled to be asked to contribute to media articles that help spread the word about how important it is to have a solid and holistic financial plan - especially when it comes to retirement.

Our recent feature in the September issue of The Insurance and Investment Journal features some great history and advice from Continuum II Inc. founder Lise Andreana, and son Peter Andreana, who has followed in her footsteps at the family business.

Find out why Lise wrote the book "No More Mac n' Cheese", how Peter "earned his own stripes" before joining Continuum II Inc., and where the name "Continuum II Inc." came from.

Read the full article here at The Insurance and Investment Journal website.