January is the time for resetting, redefining and redesigning our lives. Enjoy a strong start to the new decade with these five financial planning tips for women.

1. Trust Your Instinct

When you think about how you want to start your year, you should feel confident in your ability to make strong financial decisions. 

Women are fabulous at money management, despite what stereotypes sometimes mislead us to believe. We research information to understand all details before making important decisions, supporting our ability to make strong financial choices. Though impulsive shopping decisions do happen, we are ultimately solid decision-makers.  

So, listen to your intuition – that quiet voice in your gut that answers when you ask important questions. When you are uncertain about following your intuition, you can turn to the other women in your life who will give you honest feedback. Trust yourself and those you love.

2. What Do You Value? 

Spend time considering what you want to value and prioritize in your life this decade. Do you value time with family and friends? Looking fashionable? Traveling? A strong financial foundation – i.e. saving for emergencies and making retirement contributions? Living in the moment? 

Review your bank account and credit card statements to determine how you prioritized your spending last year. Would you choose to spend money in the same way now? We spend money and time on things we value, sometimes unconsciously. If you realize that you are spending money on things you know you do not value, it is time to reconsider your financial strategies.  

3. Our Money Stories: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

We first received advice about money from our parents, families and close circle of friends. Much of that shared knowledge still forms our foundations for financial planning. 

Evaluate your money stories with this exercise:  
Grab a paper and a pen. Sit down with a nice cup of tea or coffee and think about your nine-year-old self. What words come to mind when you consider how you thought of money as a child? How was money talked about in your household – with anger or understanding? Write these down. Some of the messages form the foundation today for your relationship to money. Some of these messages will not serve you anymore. Cross out the ones that are old or self-defeating. If they are negative or make you feel uneasy, they need to go. 

Now, think about how you can replace the negative messages. Write the new messages down. These words are your new foundation for your money story.

Start creating new money stories that reflect who you are today. Let them motivate you to create a solid financial future for yourself.


4. Seek Quality Financial Advice. 
 
Seek out financial advice from professionals whose values resonate with yours. While you can connect with many people, it is important to fully trust those who you open up to about your financial life.  

Here are a few important things to consider as you start working with a financial advisor:

  • Leverage CFP Board’s website to verify a CFP® professional’s certification and background.
  • Check out their information online. Do they have a website, social media, article mentions, etc.? A website can reveal a lot about an advisor’s personality. Do they resonate with you?
  • Interview several financial planners and ask them these 10 questions.
  • Finally, make sure you feel safe with your selected financial planner.
    • How do you feel talking to them?
    • Consider that LGBTQ clients often are more comfortable telling their story to an LBGTQ financial planner. It is important to find a financial planner who understands your specific needs and demographic.
    • If you are young, it might feel easier to connect with a young financial planner.
    • If divorced or widowed, consider working with an experienced financial planner who is capable of guiding you patiently while you are dealing with loss.
    • Ultimately, make sure you work with someone who makes you feel heard. 

5. Put Your Needs First – Just This Once!

Whether they are juggling career and family responsibilities, making a difference in the communities where they live and work—or all the above and then some—women tend to aim high and deliver. But in doing so, women often put the goals and objectives of others before their own needs. Make 2020 the year you focus on yourself and redesign your relationship with money.