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Your Bank > Education and Advice > CNB University

Women and Money: Take Control of your Financial Future

D Cator 2014
Donna L. Cator, CFP®, CDFA®
Vice President, Wealth Advisor
DCator@CNBank.com
(585) 394-4260 x50623

Women are experiencing an entirely new relationship with money than previous generations. Women are buying homes, raising children on their own, building thriving careers, and owning their own businesses. As a result, nearly half of women are the primary breadwinners in their households. Even so, women have unique challenges that need to be addressed in order to ensure lifetime financial success and independence.

On average, women live 5 years longer than men. They also tend to make less money and are more likely to experience time out of the workforce throughout their lifetimes than their male counterparts. With these challenges in mind, how do we as women ensure we are in good shape financially for our lifetimes?

1. Take control or be an active participant of the family budget, bill paying, and balancing of the checkbook.

Develop a clear picture of your current financial situation. Identify your current monthly income and expenses as well as your spending habits. Set goals and direct your money accordingly. Save and invest your money regularly, but don’t forget to build in occasional rewards! Being intentional, educated, and informed about your money decisions reduces your worry and improves your financial outlook for now and the future.

2. Manage your debt and credit.

Establish and maintain a good credit history in your own name. Know exactly how much you owe and the interest rate for each debt. Develop a short term plan to manage your payments, avoiding late fees and pay off high-interest debt first. Request a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Know how to read it and make sure there’s no fraud/identity theft. Avoid too many accounts and keep credit card debt low.

3. Put yourself first making sure your financial goals are in place.

It’s ok to say “no” to loved ones asking for money. Be a role model for your children and discuss saving, spending, credit, and retirement. For adult children, determine if they are making any sacrifices and still need assistance or if they are habitually making bad financial decisions. Consider other ways to help besides writing a check.

4. Save for retirement.

Utilize employer plans by contributing at least enough for the full match. Be educated about the different retirement options such as Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Roth 401(k), Traditional 401(k) and the impact they have on taxes today and in the future upon distribution. Set retirement spending goals and know how much you need to save in order to achieve them. Ensure you are investing in the right combination of stocks and bonds for your goals, risk tolerance, and general attitude about money.

5. Work with a financial professional.

Although you may be able to do it alone, you may find it helpful to work with a financial professional. We can help you:

  • Determine your current financial situation by reviewing income, assets and liabilities, and goals.
  • Develop a plan to help meet your financial goals.
  • Make recommendations and educate you about specific products/services.
  • Implement, monitor, and adjust your plan as needed.

One of the best things we can do as women is to take ownership of our financial destiny. Money affects all of us and touches every area of our lives, so we need to get comfortable talking about it! Share successes, mistakes, fears, and desires. Be financially empowered and empower other women in your lives so we all achieve our financial goals.


This material is provided for general information purposes only. Past performance is not indicative of future investment results. Any investment involves potential risk, including potential loss of capital. Before making any investment decision, please consult your legal, tax and financial advisors. Non-deposit investment products are not bank deposits and are not insured or guaranteed by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust or its affiliates, or any federal or state government or agency and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested.