Financial freedom - Metro US

Financial freedom

Financial planning is getting to be as hot as last year’s skinny jeans, but fortunately, it looks good on just about everyone.

A recent survey of Canadian women regarding their financial futures, conducted by Desjardins Financial Security, found that the number of women planning for retirement is on the rise.

While financial planning has traditionally been left up to the men, only 20 per cent of women questioned admitted they have little or no interest in preparing for retirement compared with 27 per cent of men.

Laura Rossiter, a consultant with Investors Group Toronto Midtown, says she’s seeing more of a sense of urgency among her female clients to make sure their financial houses are in order.

“Women are getting involved and have the desire to learn and educate themselves and gain financial independence,” she said.

Still, there seems to be an intimidation factor that keeps Canadian women from seeking help.

State Farm Insurance commissioned their own survey in December to find out how well-prepared Canadian women are for the future.

While 80 per cent felt it was important to prepare for their financial future, almost 40 per cent felt that they were falling short and didn’t feel secure.

Pete Karageorgos, spokes­man for State Farm, said women recognized they needed advice but were reluctant to seek it out. Rather than working with professionals, the majority of those surveyed said they sought financial advice from friends, family members or spouses, and even then, were reticent.

“Forty-two per cent of women said they found going to the dentist less excruciating than talking to their spouses about their daily finances,” Karageorgos said.

Rossiter, who majored in women’s studies before entering the field of finance, says women should not feel intimidated by financial planning.

“Moving forward really gives a strong sense of empowerment,” she said.

She recommends women seek out a financial adviser they feel comfortable with.

It’s also important women review simple things like credit card balances, chequing accounts and purchasing habits, Karageorgos said.

“Figure out where you’re spending your money and that’ll help identify areas where you can cut expenses,” he said.

Whether married or single, it’s imperative women get a handle on their finances, Rossiter said, because you never know what the future will bring.

“If you don’t plan for certain circumstances, then you’re going to be caught off-guard and left out in the cold,” she said.

“You’re planning for the future and this is the best thing you can do for yourself.”

Getting help
Where to get financial advice:
• Make an appointment with a personal banker at your own bank branch
• Consult your home or car insurance broker, they may also offer financial services
• Seek out a financial adviser

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