For most people, steady, ongoing work is the foundation of their wealth. Career success and a good salary, or building and growing your own business, is the means to a lifestyle you enjoy now and the promise of a stable financial future. For others, an inheritance, a windfall from an investment or employee stock, selling a business, or even winning the lottery is the source of wealth.
But no matter how high your salary, successful your business is, or big the windfall – is it enough to create lasting wealth? How about generational wealth? If your goal is to have enough to live the life you want and pass down wealth to provide ongoing security for your family, what do you need to think about besides money?
Black swan events happen, markets go through extended downturns, and unexpected life or job issues can derail plans. That’s where financial planning comes in. We break down some of the things you need to think about on the journey to lasting wealth.
Define Your Personal Wealth
Begin by shaping your personal definition of wealth. Instead of focusing solely on a numerical target, envision wealth as the lifestyle you aspire to maintain. This mindset helps identify your financial needs and timelines.
Once you understand your goals, you can develop a financial plan that harmoniously balances your current lifestyle with your future aspirations. While previous generations may have been content with working and saving until 65, younger generations, including many women today, have diverse goals they aim to achieve sooner, such as early retirement, starting a business, or buying a second home.
Embrace Flexibility and Make Informed Choices
The word that resonates most strongly with investors today is flexibility. Most people desire more control over their time and work, and this desire often shapes their definition of wealth. Understanding the trade-offs involved in financial decisions can empower you to make choices that align with your unique circumstances and goals.
For instance, if early retirement is the goal, you might initially think about sacrificing current lifestyle comforts to decrease expenses, increase savings, and maximize income through work – an approach known as the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. However, sacrificing too much may undermine your current satisfaction with life. Instead, consider pulling other "levers" to strike a better balance, such as:
Extend your retirement age
Re-evaluate risk in your investments
Reduce high-interest debt and shift to lower-interest debt
Optimize tax efficiency
This is just one example, and there’s no one right answer. Being thoughtful about your goals, then exploring different scenarios, and taking into account potential benefits from the financial planning toolkit can put you on a path to maximize your own financial independence and flexibility.
Expand Your Investment Horizons
The first step to lasting wealth is to invest as early and as consistently as possible. Ensuring that you are maxing out tax-advantaged retirement savings, and taking advantage of health savings accounts and 529 plans can put money to work and reduce your tax burden.
Expanding beyond the options available in retirement plans by putting after-tax dollars into a taxable account can help you diversify your portfolio. This allows you to refine your risk profile and potentially boost return.
Safeguard Your Wealth
To ensure lasting wealth, you must protect it. A comprehensive review of your insurance coverage that considers potential liabilities is critical. Depending on your lifestyle and assets, consider an umbrella policy that provides additional coverage beyond the limits of your existing insurance policies.
Initiate Estate Planning
Proactive estate planning is crucial to ensure that your wealth benefits your family for decades to come. A well-structured estate plan ensures your wishes are carried out and preserves as much of your estate as possible for your dependents. Trusts can simplify asset transfer, maintain privacy, and offer customization options that wills cannot. Importantly, setting up a trust doesn't mean relinquishing control over your assets.
Achieving lasting wealth requires more than just asset growth. For women investors, understanding your goals, the trade-offs in financial choices, and how to effectively use financial planning tools can help protect and grow your wealth, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.
Being informed and proactive is the key to navigating financial independence and ensuring that your wealth serves not just your lifestyle, but also the aspirations of generations to come.
The information contained herein is intended to be used for educational purposes only and is not exhaustive. Diversification and/or any strategy that may be discussed does not guarantee against investment losses but are intended to help manage risk and return. If applicable, historical discussions and/or opinions are not predictive of future events. The content is presented in good faith and has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable. The content is not intended to be legal, tax or financial advice. Please consult a legal, tax or financial professional for information specific to your individual situation.
This content not reviewed by FINRA