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Article in Year 2021

MAY 44 Gradual Steps for Women to Start Investing

There is a common saying in the financial sector – women save and men invest. There is a bucket of reasons for this and the irony is that women are more watchful of their savings then men – and their watchfulness becomes counter productive due to a lack of financial literacy. It is time women step forward and increase their net worth and bridge the huge gender retirement savings gap which is 46% ( This means that women have 46% less savings than their male counterpart upon retirement. This is alarming because women live an average of 5 years more than man – translating to a need for higher retirement savings, which need to factor in the inflation rate. 

1.  Know the Power of Compounding Interest. Perhaps, women do not know what Einstein reportedly said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it”.  This is a very powerful concept that women need to grasp.

2.  Financial Talk and Literacy. Women should participate and attend more chat, and gossip more about how to maximize their savings objectively. They could attend boot camps on money talk which will give them the necessary preview of specific financial constraints women faces and how best to start the journey to bridge it.

3.  Research and Options. It is critical, especially those who are analytical, to set aside a week or two to actually digest the investment dos-and-don’ts. This investment of time and research will be the foundation of your future financial wellness. There are plenty of DIY reading materials, and the best is to have a financial savvy person or a financial advisor to guide you along on the terminologies. There are only two major learning areas – risks and returns. Stay focus.

4.  Seek Women Partners.It is always good to have shared vision and values and this is extremely important as it is a long journey and you require support and sustainability. You could always find this in your clan or among your colleagues. All you need is a team of 3-5 headcount of the same age group. You can always share the cost of having professional tutoring from a competent and trusted female financial advisor.

All the above could be realized within a period of less than a month – and yet the potential benefits are extremely enriching and empowering. If you are keen do contact us to get started asap.

APR 20  4 Financial Habits for Single Women before getting Hitched
It is essential for young women to have financial planning or habits early in life along with her first income. This exposure and experience will allow for clearer priority and greater discipline over her income, expenses and goals in life. 
These valuable existential lessons will then allow her to continue defining and staying her financial grounds when she settles down with her partner. Progressing to a “me, you and us” approach will then be extension of her values and respect in the relationship. Of course, this is necessary as couples do have different investing styles, priorities and values. 
If uncertainties occur, divorce or become widowed, having a sound financial literacy and account in your name helps you to transit to a solo financial life again smoothly. 
1.   Financial Priority. There are two options in managing finance – you either prioritize expenditure or savings. If you prioritize expenditure then it is indulging in spending over careful savings. What is left at month end would be the savings – which will always be a case of insufficiency, indebt and insolvency, in a matter of time. 
If you prioritize savings you set aside 15%-20% for it and spend what is left. This nurture discipline and priority, creativity and resourcefulness. This also allows for short- and long-term planning. Within a year you can see how enriching and empowering these financial strategies are, and it gives you confidence and courage to pursue further financial goals and dreams. 
2.   Long Term Financial Goals.  You have to be clear of your goals in life as well as your post retirement standard of living. Remember, you need to feed two mouths with your income at any point in your life – that is, if you are single and with no dependents. First you need to feed yourself and your needs at the current moment for about 30 years till you retire. Next, you have to feed yourself and your needs when you retire without any income, again for another 30 years before your RIP. Most people forget about this reality – and it calls for prudent and disciplined planning.
If you are married – the ball game will be entirely different and difficult, and your prior experience of financial planning will be valuable.
3.   Investment.  The inherent values in women favour them in investment and this include patience, long term commitment and priority in education and health. Being a smart investor means you need to ensure the risks are distributed over a variety of instruments including high-risk equity and stable bonds coupled with a prudent measure of life insurance, real estate etc.
4.   Financial Advisor. It is always good to seek a competent and trusted financial advisor given that issues pertaining to finance can be extremely diverse and equally dynamic. Having a professional advisor ensure your long terms goals and interest are monitored and met while you focus on career, family and other important needs.

With the above in place, you bring to your relationship a set of values, commitment and assets that will earn the respect and support from your partner – which you will naturally reciprocate. On the other hand, your lack of financial literacy and experience will create a relationship of dependence, inequality and mistrust. 
APR 8  4 Steps to Outsmart 4 Unique Financial Woes of Women

After knowing the extensive and extended duration of the harsh issue women faces, they need to take concrete and proactive planning. There is no need for fear, blame or lament. Fortunately, there are practical solutions which women can access easily and leverage to reduce the impact, to subsequently enjoy financial abundance and independence. What is need is to embrace these 4 connected steps soonest possible.

1.    Start Financial Literacy. Financially literacy for women is slightly lower than man and this place woman in a disadvantaged position. Focus on specific financial worries and woes unique to women and not the entire range of financial themes and techniques. This would take a week of good readings and it would be enough to wake you from your slumber and start pondering on sound financial solutions. Next, do map out an outline of your goals at each phase of a woman’s life. You do not need to reinvent the wheels – the journey and milestones, challenges and goals are quite the same. What differs is the size and quality of your goals.

2.    Save and Invest promptly. Financial freedom began from knowing the correlation of financial stress, spending and savings. It is critical to defer and moderate unnecessary spending in return for financial security in the long run. Savings is the foundation but more critical is to know how one can invest to multiply savings – what we term as money@work. Next is to understand threats that could undermine and impact your current lifestyle, future goals and financial security and how all these threats can be mitigated via specific investment tools. These quick tips that you could master in a short time would jumpstart your financial dreams. 

3.    Partner a Financial Advisor. Leveraging the expertise and experience of a financial advisor is necessary to condense and accelerate your financial literacy, savings-invest strategies and outcomes. This is similar to having a personal fitness or health coach that will guide and provide all necessary resources and support. Spend some time to explore and establish such relationship and preferably with an experienced female financial advisor who could sympathize with your unique financial woes as a woman.

Most people assume having a personal financial advisor is expensive and reserve only for the rich and elite. In this global marketplace, technological simplicity and accessibility to information – having a personal financial advisor is no longer an expensive luxury but a common economic necessity. If you can afford a high end expensive mobile phone, that you need to change every five years, you certainly can acquire this lifetime investment that comes with multifunctional financial tools, auto reviews and upgrades, lifetime warranty and free financial apps at the lowest cost possible.

4.    Staying Focus. Financial planning for your life is a lifetime project but fortunately having a competent Financial Advisor helps to guide you smoothly and swiftly on this journey. Once you have established the above 3 key areas your responsibility is almost done. Next, would be staying focus in your job to grow your savings couple with sustaining your financial habits and promises with your financial advisor. Your financial tree can then grow solidly, steadily and securely. Just sit back and enjoy your family and leisure interest. Meanwhile, your financial advisor will be busy doing all the monitoring, growing your portfolio and updating you on the progress.

It suddenly sounds so simple and easy. Indeed, literacy can overcome illiteracy and all its woes quite easily. Initiating the financial literacy and acquiring a financial partner is the only milestone you need to reach to begin your financial freedom.

MAR 26 Anticipate and Accept 4 Unique Financial Woes of Women

Women need to know and anticipate the unique financial obstacles she will meet and how best to outsmart it. Without this anticipation early in their life the issues will keep compounding and it will overwhelm them before they can even understand and untangle them. The sooner they foresee these key issues the better they would be able to strategize, moderate and compensate for the impact.

The issues are:
1. Greater Responsibility. It is a well-known truism that female matured faster than male. Their brain could develop ten years earlier than the boys and this tend to draw parents to load them with greater roles and responsibilities. This coupled with the higher emotional quotient in female translate to more care and help for their siblings at home and similarly for colleagues and corporation at the workplace. This often means fewer saving for the female as they spend and sacrifice for others. This snowballed into the next unique issue for women.
2. Career and Income Inequality. The greater responsibilities and contribution do not translate to equal career or income equality. This truism and stark reality occur even in developed nation across almost all industries. This translates to lesser income annually and significant financial shortfalls in retirement planning. In global survey in 2020, women make only $0.81 for every dollar a man makes. This disparity of around 20% annually would translate to titanic difference in the long term – especially with the potential of compounded interest on investment.
3. Shorter time in the Workforce. These dire situations for most women are inflated by their shorter total career time in the workforce. This is contributed by a few factors including maternity, stop work to take on the role of primary care giver, and sacrificing career and opportunities as spouse goes on promotion or transfer, among others. It has a ripple effect from the amount of superannuation at retirement and reduced opportunities for advancement. In short, they are highly short-changed financially and the impact will be felt greatly from decade to decade as they aged.
4. Living Longer. Across the globe men often die earlier than women. Men can expect to live between 74-78 while women life expectancy is between 80 to 85. The gap of around 10 years during this twilight years could mean greater depletion or even negative retirement fund, notwithstanding the increasing cost of living. Unfortunately, this mean the last to go would bear the burden. Do not rely on inheritance benefits as it may come with unexpected financial cost. Be thankful if there are no debts to settle. 

Now that we had clearly learnt, recognize and anticipate these persistent realities we have the head start to strategize and negotiate these challenges. Read our next articles for the strategies and solutions.
MAR 10 4 Financial Mindset a Woman need to Embrace

1. Back to Basics. Instead of luxurious beauty and expensive fitness classes learn and master health regiments like yoga and qigong – kind of paying a one-off module to learn a skill set. Alternatively, subscribe to many low cost self-development courses , but high end, available in the net – as part of the virtual learning that spring from the global Covid19 pandemic issue.
2. Investing – Women Secret Weapon. Women would rather save than invest due to several factors. But women must build a diverse savings and investment strategy. Though man is keener and more knowledgeable with investment, but woman is more focus and opt for long term tenure. These two essential qualities impact the investment outcome tremendously and women should continue to leverage on these two power values.
3. Seek a Good Financial Planner. Take charge is the key word and be your own CFO while you are single. Given the multiple roles and responsibility, competency and complexity, the easier option is to explore and acquire a competent and trusted woman FP. Work with your FP to build a secure reservoir where you can incrementally add your financial resources – especially, after getting married which tend to blur the lines of finance for yourself, spouse and family.
4. Making Retirement Top Priority. This is regarding retirement funds and planning. With this there is an overarching goal that will give you clarity over other immediate financial needs for yourself and family. With this long-term priority and insight – many sacrifices, negotiations, decision making as regards to money and your men can be clear and focus. This also offer you plenty of solace and security – especially, when women longevity rate is higher.

Women must step forward to acquire financial literacy, explore and establish a partnership with an experienced financial planner and start to incrementally save and invest on a long-term basis. 

This will help her build a cosy financial nest and home that she can always turn to for security and safety, solace and support, either in retirement or in deep hours of need.
FEB 27 4 Financial Mindset a Woman need to Drop

1. Don’t overindulge in Beauty. Often, women continue to spend on expensive self-care even though they are dead broke – and this may include expensive fitness classes and related accessories and diet. This misplaced priority and obsession indicate a less than healthy self-esteem. Beauty can be minimalistic especially when it is strongly anchored in inner values. Be elegantly simple and not simply elegant. Choose and wear the ultimate beauty - self-confidence.

2. Don’t Chase the Big Fishes. This mindset in woman reflects their dependency. On the other hand, it is about having a rich partner to pay for all the luxury that woman wish to enjoy. In this context, if women are able to earn more, being practical, and functional, conduct as minimalist as regards to spending – then going for the big fish is redundant and along with it all the risks that comes with the big fish.

3. Don’t leave Financial Planning to Men. Too busy and too complicated are some of the excuses that pushes women to empower their hubby, brother or dad to be the financial guardian. Be participative – at least do know the content, tenure and motivation of any shared financial involvement and investment taken. Men priorities in investment are really quite different from women and this may compromise your financial goals. A short initial engagement will go a long way for your future.

4. Don’t Compromise your Rights. You have a right to your priorities and dreams, savings and investments – and it must not be trivialized. This does not mean the entire family have to bend backward to accommodate you. It just means that you recognize that finance has leverages that is crucial to your survival, security and safety in the long run – and you need to preserve it. It boils down to learning how best to apportion your finance effectively.

Women need to be more aware of changes in the fabric of society and its impact on her role, responsibilities and priorities.

This understanding is needed to drive how she can be more outwardly engaged, enabled, empowered and enriched as a financial independent lady, while maintaining a fine balance with her inner feminine qualities, roles and priorities.
FEB 14 Women need to be aware: 6 Scenarios that shapes their Savings

1. Society Biasness. Women often have lesser take home pay compare to men and are seen to play supporting roles. Subsequently, they lack support and opportunity. The difference of take-home pay can be as high as 25%. This inherent discrimination is almost universal culture except for a few Scandinavian countries. This inherent disadvantage creates lesser savings for women and impact their retirement plans.

2. Roles & Duties. Women tend to take time off for their children and family matters. This instinct means a drop in their cumulative income and consequently their savings. When they do return to work, they lag their male counterpart in terms of income, savings and retirement plans. This compounded her opportunity for promotion in the long run. This set her total savings and retirement funds back by as much as 25%-35% compare to the men.

3. Long term Outlook. Investment for women is often for family and children especially for health and education. As such their investment is often small and incremental, long term and low risk, stable and committed. This mindset also saves women from over trading and brokerage commission, sales taxes and consolidated returns and dividends. Of course, because of the wonders of compounded interest the yield is often higher than their male species.

4.Back to Basics. For practical stuff like food, grocery and daily necessities women tend to go for seasonal sales, privilege coupons and store brand. They are truly competent in squeezing the most out of a dollar and consequently their savings adds up to quite a bundle annually. Of course, this means extra money to her savings and retirement plans – which she rightly deserves.

5. Financial Literacy. Women are lacking across the world in financial literacy. This means lack of confidence and interest in savings, investments and other key areas in financial planning. This often result, along with other financial constraints and disadvantage, adds to lesser bargaining power for women which will be obvious during their retirement phase and beyond.

6. Value Systems. Women contract a debt for critical and essentials needs which include a home or children education. If they are single the needs for loan are for education and health. Meanwhile, women tend to squeeze their expenses to settle their debts sooner, if their savings and capacity allows, as compare to men. For women it is best to live without debts and to use savings to offset any, while for men debts are a necessity for growth.

Women earn less and therefore save less. But their savings competence is higher while their expenditure control is better. Women are less familiar in investment but more prudent and obtained higher returns over time.

Therefore, women must leverage a Financial Integrator to continue their power in squeezing money. Join us for more sharing on how Women can be more Engaged, Enabled, Empowered & Enriched.
JAN 30 Women need to be aware: 6 Factors that Shapes their Perception of Money

1. Beauty. Naturally, female take hygiene and beauty seriously and as such they spend more on grooming be it clothing, skin and hair care, or yoga and gym classes. Guys tend to spend on gadgets – which though more expensive but the total spend in a year favours the lady.

2. Taste. Studies show ‘Men Buy, Women Shop’. Men have a goal and just get what they want and off they go. On the other hand, women prefer to go for current fashion, latest outlet and tasty ambience – where personal spending is concern. This is more obvious for those who are climbing the corporate ladder. All these translate to higher cost and spending though it may not be frequent.

3. Company. When it comes to shopping women seldom shop alone. They prefer company and to them this is a luxury, as a compensation for office work and family sacrifices, and this promote fancy and fantasy, peer shopping and entertainment. Again, this means a fatter budget is necessary each time they shop – which can be often!

4. Cultural Roles. In Asia, the traditional role of women is homemaker and that of men are bread winner. Though most women are working these days nevertheless this value system is entrenched in the women’s mind. As such their inclination or rather expectations are for the men to engage in property and investment, once they are married, while theirs are practical provisions.

5. Money equals Independence. This is almost universal. Women, who engage actively to accumulate and invest, while they are single or married, indicate their need for financial independence. This often translates to more say and equal decision making in the home or family, either married or otherwise.

6. Goals and Growth. Women perceive money as a means for better education and health, survival and security for her or the family. Her goals and growth are closely related to nurturing. This applies to debts too, if any are contracted. Men’s perception is about house, car, business expansion or a vacation. It is also about status and luxury, competition and growth. This is also true for their debts.

Women and money are about being practical, having provisions and gaining security while luxury is about a compensation for her sacrifices in nurturing others. Going forward women must leverage financial literacy and planning to ensure these goals, priorities and values are met soonest possible. Join us for more sharing on how Women can be more Engaged, Enabled, Empowered & Enriched.

JAN 14  Our Mission statement for Financially Independent Lady (Finlady) is: 

Engaging, Enabling, Empowering and Enriching Women with Equal Opportunities and Choices for Financial Literacy and Action, Financial Abundance & Independence.
JAN 12 SK-iWealth will be having a Women's theme for 2021 and invite you to read, inquire and share our vision. It is all about - Financial Literacy, Action and Independence for Women.

We humans are supposed to be born equal irrespective of gender, race or religion – in the context of rights and opportunities. Somehow, things turn out otherwise, especially for women, and this has impacted majority of them negatively throughout their life. This is most unfortunate but true.

This does not always mean that society abuses women and make them victims. On the other hand, it could also mean that women are richer in the qualities of kindness, nurturing and self-sacrifice and often these beautiful qualities are taken advantage of. The solution is about finding BALANCE – sustained the rich EQ while nourishing their equal rights and opportunities.

One of the fundamental needs that will help Women to be more equal and respected, independent and liberated is through financial literacy and subsequently financial action. Given this dire scenario we hope to contribute through targeted financial literacy and financial actions for various phases of a women life to ensure greater financial independence. Yes, our objective is to promote, engage and grow Financial Independent ladies – or Finlady, in short.

The financial literacy provides self-awareness and strategies for women to be better prepared to face financial hurdles and constraints, expectations and obligations imposed upon her mindset via education, environment and culture. It will also give her a roadmap, choices and options to be financially empowered. Our Mission statement for Finlady is - Engaging, Enabling, Empowering and Enriching Women with Equal Opportunities and Choices for Financial Literacy and Action, Financial Abundance & Independence.

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