by Suzanne Lundeen Abrams | Featured Contributor
A recent Prudential white paper on Women and Retirement cites a study that found the average retirement account balances of women were 1/3 lower than those of men. That is a data set of 401k-type plans but as female entrepreneurs, we are responsible for setting up our own retirement plans.
So many questions arise when these facts sink in: Do you have a retirement plan set up for your business? If you do have a retirement plan, are you contributing to it? Let’s face it, many of us are not where we should be with money and investing. We can and must do better than this!
As a financial planner, I give people advice and, of course, we’re all in different places and stages with our money but there is one simple way to shift to a better place and it’s applicable to everyone. No matter how your financial life is now, setting goals will push you to a better place in the future.
Six Steps to Financial Goal-setting Like a Boss
- Dreaming, Supersized: In the words of the fierce female founder, Cindy Gallop, setting out to make tons of money in business is a good place to start… but don’t stop there!
- Clear Goals: Break it down and clarify your money goals and what you must do to accomplish them. Only 1/3 of women have a clear set of retirement goals so be sure to think beyond the next ten years.
- Time Travel: Think of yourself as an 80-year-old. Get this: According to Sarah Newcomb, a behavioral economist at the investment research firm, Morningstar, the most important economic factor of financial health (regardless of income or gender demographic) is how far ahead in time someone is thinking. In her studies, she found that the people who were thinking 10 years ahead or more, had significantly more saved up for retirement than those who weren’t thinking as far ahead. Studies have also shown that through visualizing ourselves as an older person, (or actually seeing age-enhanced images of ourselves) we will save more. How interesting that women typically respond with a natural desire to care for others—except when that older, wiser, more wrinkled person is us!
- Please Yourself: This is not about pleasing others. It’s all about you. What do you want? Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping has been a helpful compass for me in designing my goals. After all, the satisfaction we seek comes from the way we feel once we’ve hit the target. How do you want to feel? What do you need to do to get that feeling? Take lots of time to reflect on this because it’s really the most important part. A goal comes down to desire. Sexy, right?
- Write. It. Down.: Studies have shown that people who set goals and actually write them down are three times more successful than people who keep them in their head. Visualizing your goal happening is effective. You need to have faith and believe you will achieve it. Be sure to keep track of your progress and celebrate mile-markers along the way.
- Find Your Tribe: Asking for help is important. Having good partners is everything. Getting the right person in the right seat is smart on paper but if you’ve ever had to remove someone via firing or divorce, for example, you’ve likely found it challenging to execute this critical measure in real life. In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg emphasized her husband was key to her successful track in business. We all need support to reach our goals. Do you have any trusted advisors to help you chart your course? Who are the people who will hold you accountable for the goals you set? Your spouse? Your best friend? Your financial advisor? Know who’s in your court and if there are seats to be filled within your entourage, network to find the collaborative partners who will keep you on your mission, encourage and support you.
The future is bright for female entrepreneurs because we’re on top of our game when it comes to the key ingredient to financial success: #GOALS. Now be sure to incorporate your business retirement plan in your goalsetting. Your future-self will thank you!
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC,
Suzanne Abrams, Registered Representative. Advisory services offered through United Advisors, LLC,
a SEC Registered Investment Advisory Firm, Suzanne Abrams, Investment Advisor Representative.
United Advisors, LLC, Lundeen Abrams Advisors and Securities America are unaffiliated.
*The opinions and forecasts expressed in this piece are those of the author and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
All material contained herein is for informational purposes only. This is not a solicitation to offer investment advice or services in any state where to do so would be unlawful. Past results are no guarantee of future results and no representation is made that a client will or is likely to achieve results that are similar to those shown. Please refer to disclosure document for additional information and risks.
 Prudential Retirement analysis reflecting defined contribution plan balances of Prudential record-kept plans as of December 31, 2015.