Viewpoints (Jill): Your Work Isn't Done Yet!
You, the first generation of women executives to arrive at or near retirement after groundbreaking careers, are probably ready to take a bow and a well-deserved rest. You were out there earning, achieving, and fighting for parity. Your energy was palpable and through it all you developed a finely-tuned values system, which will define your legacy. But your work isn’t done yet.
Thanks to you and your peers, it’s a great time to be a woman in the United States. For the first time, women are more likely to have a college degree than men. In 40% of households women are the primary breadwinner, exercising decision-making power over $11.2 trillion, a whopping 39% of the nation’s investible assets. But the big news is over the next decade women will control in excess of two-thirds of those assets, the result of their own earnings and a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and spouses. So what are women going to do with that power?
You can attack retirement the same way you attacked your career, but with the luxury of a 30,000 foot view. Start by exploring the values that define your generation of working women: independence, challenge, adventure, knowledge, diversity, and environmentalism--and examine how they might translate into your financial goals. For example, I want to maintain my financial independence, I want to start a new business, I want to travel, I want to fund my grandkids’ college education, I want to invest in companies with diversity in leadership, I want to leave a major philanthropic gift. Your portfolio of life goals will drive your financial portfolio’s objectives.
Next, the same way you would have sought the help of a consultant in your business, consider working with a qualified financial advisor to build a customized financial plan incorporating these goals. Be sure the plan is reflective of your personal tolerance for risk and your place in the earnings cycle. If your career is winding down and you won’t be getting a paycheck for much longer, the plan should provide guidelines for healthy spending. If you have a retirement plan with lots of company stock, be sure you are diversified. If you’re starting a new company, be sure you take a more conservative approach to your investing. If you are supporting a not for profit organization be sure your portfolio is structured to support you first. Your plan should aim to mitigate damage from the risks that we cannot control, like market risk, taxes, death and illness, to help to allay the associated fears. Life keeps coming at us – but we can prepare.
Last, trust yourself. You are probably the first female in your family to manage the wealth that you created. Insist on a relationship with your advisor that is on your terms, one that starts with the personal, not the algorithmic. Expect the advisor to ask lots of questions about you, your family, business, interests, values, goals and fears. Make sure he or she understands what living well means to you. Because it’s not about the advisor’s business model, it’s about your next act and your legacy.
Jill Faherty Lloyd is a Managing Director and Financial Advisor at Evercore Wealth Management with a particular emphasis on supporting women through the firm’s Wise Women investor program.