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As a woman, you may have less money to retire on. You may have taken time — maybe years — out of your career to care for your children. Also, women often make less money than men. This makes it even harder to set aside savings. You may be retired and living on a fixed income. Or you may still be working, trying to save enough for retirement. Either way, it is important for you to know how to make the most of your money.
Today, women can expect to live longer than their spouses. A longer life means a longer retirement, which means you will need more money. You may have put a lot away in savings or a retirement plan. But are you making money with your money? Do you know how to invest and how you will manage your retirement distributions? Financial planning helps you manage your money so you can achieve your goals. Learning the basics of financial planning is something everyone should do. Even if you are informed, you might benefit from more expert tips. Visit mymoney.gov for more information about financial planning. Or talk with a professional financial planner. Financial planners can help you meet your financial goals by helping you manage your money. Be aware that you will be charged for the financial planner's services. If you decide to consult a financial planner, be sure to work with a fee-only planner. This type of financial planner works only for you and does not get commissions on your investments.
Everyone should have an estate plan, which is a plan for what happens to your money and the things you own after you die. Having an estate plan can reduce the taxes that must be paid by your heirs. More importantly, it can spare your loved ones the pain of dealing with finances while also grieving your death. A good estate plan protects your property, ensures your wishes are carried out, and allows for the quick distribution of your assets.
First, you'll want to write down and give a value to everything you own. Here's a list to help get you started:
After you've made your list of assets, you'll want to use that information to estimate the total value of your estate. Now it's time for some planning. Next, you will want to:
Remember that estate planning is not a one-time event. Things can (and do!) change. Take another look at your estate plan if:
Estate planning is complicated, and estate laws are always changing. Be sure to consult a lawyer who deals with family law or estate planning and perhaps a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or estate planner for help.
Content last updated August 12, 2010.