Create a GPS Guide to Your Financial Future

On our Barnes Wendling’s “Better Business With Barnes” podcast, we recently talked about the increasing interest in information about net worth that women business owners and investors are expressing with guests Emily Minnich, CFP, Senior Wealth Strategy Associate, and Damion Crannis, CFP, Senior Vice President of Wealth Management, of UBS Financial Services. Listen to our podcast and read about their recommendations below.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns that can have dramatic financial impacts on women business owners, making careful, well-conceived investment planning crucial. For that reason and more, it is essential for women to know their net worth and, better yet, “own” their net worth. Consider these three factors:

  1. Women live longer than men, with an average life expectancy in the U.S. of 81 years for women and 77 years for men.
  2. Half of all marriages end in divorce.
  3. Some 80% of women end up managing their finances at some point in life.

Add to these factors the reality that we live in an increasingly complex financial environment, and it becomes clear that knowing and understanding your net worth enables you to create financial and investment planning strategies that meet both your immediate needs and long-term goals.

What is ‘Net Worth?’

A person’s net worth is relatively easy to calculate.

First, consider your assets. What do you own? Assets would include bank accounts, investments, your home, and any other real estate such as a vacation home, cars, art collections, jewelry, and other items of value. Your assets may also include the value of a business you own or have a financial interest in.

Next, what are your debts? These may include mortgages or home equity loans, car loans or leases, credit card debt, student loans, and personal loans, among other debts.

Subtract the debts from the assets, and you have your net worth. The numbers don’t have to be exact, but it’s important to have a realistic ballpark estimate.

Many people live affluent lifestyles with multiple homes, cars, and exciting vacations, but if they carry a high level of debt their net worth can be much less than peers who live more modestly.

Why is Net Worth Important?

For many women, understanding their net worth helps create a GPS map to their financial future. It provides a marker of where you are at this particular point in time, enabling you to envision where you want to go and how to get there.

How will you grow your net worth? Will a combination of salary, savings, and investments help you reach your goals?

Just as important as knowing your net worth is knowing your “enough.” How much money is enough to allow you to reach your goals and follow your passions? How much is enough to pay the bills and maintain your current lifestyle? Big-ticket items in the future, such as college educations, retirement, and travel may be factored into the vision for your financial future.

Other factors include the unexpected – illness, disability, death, and divorce. Whatever level your net worth is at, it should be protected by adequate insurance and estate planning.

Developing savings and investment plans – with the help of a financial planning professional – to reach your goals and deal with the unexpected will require a realistic understanding of your current net worth and how to expand it.

Own Your Net Worth

Analyzing your net worth and understanding your “enough” brings you to an important vantage point – owning your net worth. Armed with the knowledge of what you have, what you want, and how to get there, you now own your net worth.

If you would like to discuss how investment planning can help you own your net worth, contact your Barnes Wendling advisor.

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