If you can run a business or a bake sale, you can learn how to manage your finances. Here, four simple strategies for acquiring the basics
Hire a Financial Planner
Most people should see an adviser for a tune-up annually. The adviser will assess your goals and adjust your planning and saving accordingly. (Find one at napfa.org or fpanet.org.) At your first meeting, ask these three questions:
- “How do you get paid?” Avoid advisers who charge referral fees.
- “Are you a fiduciary?” This means that above all else, including her own beliefs about money, she must put your interests first. So, for example, she won’t recommend a financial product or plan simply because it will increase her compensation.
- “How will you work with me to help me reach my goals?” If you want to go on a dream vacation, that may mean using a different savings vehicle than if you wish only to put away money for retirement. So it’s crucial that your adviser understand your priorities.
Pick Up a Good Book
The Millionaire Next Door ($17, amazon.com), by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko; The Investment Answer ($18, amazon.com), by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murray; and Charles Schwab’s New Guide to Financial Independence ($10, amazon.com), by Charles Schwab, are packed with information and inspiration.
Check out these Web-based financial resources that are geared toward women:
- DailyWorth.com for smart tips and real-time money discussions with other women.
- Womenandco.com for advice on budgeting, investments, careers, and more.
Take a basic personal-finance class (inquire at a local community college or a continuing-education program), or join a women’s money group (go to MoneyClubs.com for one near you).
Get more advice and learn about the psychology of Women and Money.