Money: Financial advice for women by a woman


Kelley Donovan PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

The ultimate act of self-care is not just taking a luxurious bath.

While it might help in the moment, the long-term best outcome for you is investing your time and focus into your goals — the ones that keep you on track to where you want to be.

Get proactive and and start with your financial adviser. To every woman, of any age: You are worthy of an adviser, and you should get one that has your back, who you can trust and who listens.

What should you ask? Excellent question. Here are some examples:

How much do I need to save for retirement?

I’ll remind females one more time: Women generally work fewer years, earn less than men and tend to live longer. This combination requires you to carefully consider that your retirement could last 20 or even 30 years. This means using your work retirement plan and/or an IRA. Ask about the differences between pre-tax and after tax retirement dollars and which one would benefit you most.

How do I know if I need long-term care insurance?

It’s possible you will need some form of long-term care. To keep costs from consuming your savings, your adviser can help evaluate your options:

• Long-term care insurance is designed to cover some or all long-term care expenses, such as personal care in a facility or your home. Medicare might pay for some short-term care, but don’t count on it to cover long-term care expenses.

• Hybrid life insurance policies combine long-term care with life insurance. If you need long-term care, you can use the policy to help pay for those expenses. If you never use the long-term care benefits, your heirs get a death benefit. Double win.

• Self-funding. Paying long-term care costs out of pocket depends on a realistic assessment of whether your assets are sufficient to cover potential long-term care costs.

How should I balance risk vs. returns?

Some people have low risk tolerance and want to play it too safe when investing. Ensure your strategy balances risk with strong potential portfolio growth needed to sustain your financial future. Together, you and your adviser can design goals-based investing with risk that feels appropriate for you.

When should I claim Social Security?

Your relationship with Social Security? It’s complicated. Get on this. Be curious, and work to understand your Social Security benefit options. Your adviser is there to explain your choices and how to maximize your benefit and your taxable situation, based on your expected retirement. Probably the best outcome involves you working and saving until you get Medicare at age 65, at least.

How can I protect my retirement while caring for loved ones?

Women often shoulder the caregiving role. Your generous support could come with a cost (lower income, increased stress, impact on retirement security). If you are stepping into a caregiving role, examine its impact on your financial life.

More questions to consider: How often will we meet, and will you have an agenda prepared? What is the cost? Can I ask other financial questions, such as is my 401(k) invested properly? Do I need life insurance?

Short-term pain gives long term gain.

I get it. I was there once. Dealing with money feels overwhelming and makes your brain hurt. Getting a trusted expert to help you take control of your financial journey can feel overwhelming, yet once complete, it is a source of comfort. Invest in yourself. Your “future you” will high five you for it.

Kelley Donovan is a managing partner and wealth adviser with LPL Financial/Richmond Investments in Dubuque.

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