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Aspen Women’s Wealth: Your habits determine your financial future

Ron Speaker and Raychl Keeling
Special to The Aspen Times
Raychl Keeling and Ron Speaker, from Equus Private Wealth, are the developers of the nonprofit educational outreach program Aspen Women's Wealth.
Courtesy photo

The goal of Aspen Women’s Wealth is to inspire, encourage, connect and support women in their pursuit of better money management skills. This runs the gamut from better budgeting tools to understanding investment strategies tailored to your risk tolerances. Why? Because 90% of women will outlive their partners and will be the key money manager of their financial affairs. By not preparing today, women risk creating a successful future outcome and create a knowledge deficit with each passing year.

Recently, a close friend of ours responded, like so many others have to our consistent encouragement, with the simple statement: “I’ve got so much going on right now, I can barely focus on getting through the day.” We get it, people are busy with plenty of other obligations.

So, how can busy moms, working women, retirees and active females stay attune to their finances, their own needs and the needs of their family? Should we just hire someone to run our important financial affairs? If you do, be careful of their experience and motivations. Could we just open a basic account and put all our assets into index funds? There are no right or wrong answers. Often, simple plans can work just as well as the complicated and seductive hedge fund and private equity returns that we often overhear in Aspen conversations.



The key is creating a personal savings and investing plan, on your own, or with an adviser who works within your risk tolerances. This way, you do not have to worry about the day-to-day gyrations of the market. If part of your plan was a consistent contribution, recent volatility has provided you with an opportunity as the equity market declined. Dollar cost-averaging takes the emotion out of the market’s ups and downs and keeps your eye on long-term savings and retirement goals.

Let us repeat a key part from above. You need both a savings and investment plan. If you want to grow your net worth, you need to be saving money each month or year and investing wisely for the long game. Last month, during a fireside chat we attended in Vail, a former financial planner made a striking comment. She chose to leave her profession after 20 years of frustration because her clients typically did not want to do their part (saving) and only wanted her to make them rich on their initial investment. Building wealth is a two-part process.




The road to financial health is comprised of thousands of individual spending and savings decisions. If a comfortable retirement is your goal, consider paying yourself first (saving) each month and budgeting around the rest. Having a better understanding of what it takes to grow your wealth will help you make more informed decisions along the way.

So, to our friend without enough time to fully engage in her financial affairs, I made a few simple suggestions.

1. Get your money organized using a software program. (Mint, Personal Capital, YNAB)

2. Automate as many bills as possible so you do not forget and take a credit score hit.

3. Be mindful of your spending habits and use an app on your phone to track it.

4. Invest your income consistently following a suitable financial game plan. Fund your future.

If you can get yourself organized, start following a plan and stay disciplined, it will reduce your stress, help you be more productive, and free up more time to enjoy your family and friends. Start creating better money habits today and you can create your financial future.

Our annual Women’s Wealth Forum will be held on June 9 at the Aspen Meadows. Learn more about this upcoming event by joining our network at http://www.aspenwomenswealth.com.

For further study we recommend the following books:

“Mom’s Got Money: A Millennial Mom’s Guide to Managing Money” – Catherine Alford

“Know Yourself, Know Your Money” – Rachel Cruze

“Worth It, Your life, Your Money, Your Terms” – Amada Steinberg

Ron Speaker and Raychl Keeling are the Founder and Community Development Director of the nonprofit Aspen Women’s Wealth. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell a security nor considered a recommendation to utilize the services of a specific firm.

 


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