On June 6, the Women in Business Series sponsored by EagleBank and Matthews, Carter & Boyce (MCB) held its first event of 2019, Financial Empowerment for Women: Knowledge is Power. More than 50 attendees participated in an engaging discourse, as a panel of female financial professionals shared insightful tips, best practices and personal anecdotes. The free event was held at the MCB offices in Fairfax, Virginia.

Panel moderator, MCB Partner Kathleen Flaherty, CPA, was joined by Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, The Colony Group and Constance Miner, CFP®, RICP, Steward Partners.

Dawn Doebler began the discussion with the astonishing statistic that 80 percent of women die single, while 80 percent of men die married. It spoke to the importance of women becoming more aware and more comfortable with taking control of their own financial decisions and wealth.

When asked about the top financial mistakes women make,

Doebler commented, “Women tend to not take responsibility for their own personal finances. They often don’t know their net worth.”  If this is the case, how are women supposed to make informed decisions about spending, saving and investing? Doebler compared it to healthcare decisions. “You would never make decisions related to your health unless you knew your body. It’s the same thing with finances,” she said.

Miner also had several interesting observations to share. “Women are generally more cognizant of risk. When it comes to investing, this leads them to innately diversify,” she said.  Even though this is a positive, many women lack confidence in their investing ability.  “It’s not so much lack of understanding as it is lack of confidence,” according to Miner.

Key Factors Affecting Women:

Only 15 percent of investment advisors are women. Therefore, not all financial advisors clearly understand or fully appreciate a woman’s perspective. When consulting with an advisor, each panelist recommended that women make sure to ask questions about assumptions being made on your behalf. Is there a clear understanding of your unique circumstances? Is the advice appropriate for you?  It’s also important to hold your financial professionals accountable. Ask them how much they are making by recommending a specific product or service and if they are suggesting you participate, ask why it is the best fit.

“Know your numbers” was a recurrent theme of the discussion. Be sure to ask about tax implications before you make any financial decisions. Know your state tax laws. And make sure to ask questions regarding all your assets. Know who the beneficiaries are for your retirement plans. “The more you know, the more informed your decisions will be”, said MCB Principal Kathy Flaherty.

“It shouldn’t be taboo for women to talk about money,” Doebler added. “The average woman does not talk to anyone about money. We need to become more comfortable talking about it.”

To learn more about our Women in Business Series and upcoming events or to suggest topics and panelists, please contact Andrea Ansell at  Matthews, Carter & Boyce at aansell@mcb-cpa.com.

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