This week was incredibly full and productive. On Wednesday, I attended a meeting sponsored by the Women’s Policy Forum (WPF). The guest speakers for the luncheon were women who are all well versed in financial matters for women and make their living advising others in financial planning. During one of the talks, the speaker referenced a book, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy in the discussion. The book’s premise is that these wealthy individuals are not living today’s earn-and-consume culture but adhere to a rule of living below their means. So answer these questions and pretend you’re a millionaire when you answer them.
Q. What is the most you would pay for a pair of shoes?
A. No more than $120
Q. What is the most you would pay for a new car?
A. No more than $40,000
“We aren’t what we drive”, according to the author.
My advice is start saving early and regularly…it is amazing how the compounding of money works for you. If you invest $2,000 in a mutual fund, save $250 a month for 20 years and have a percent yield of 8.0%, you will have a balance of $157,109. If you are able to save even more then do it. Another golden nugget of advice from one of the members from the panel was that when you are budgeting think about it in terms of what you will be able to buy not what you won’t be able to buy.
In addition to the discussion about thriftiness, these advisers reminded us to get our houses in order related to estate planning. Especially for women who often rely on our male partners to take care of our financial matters for us. Especially for many of us in the audience who are over 50 and older. At a minimum, an estate plan should include the following elements:
- A Will – legally-binding document that names who will receive your personal property at the time of your death.
- Durable or Financial Power of Attorney- a way to plan for those times when you are incapacitated.
- Health Care Power of Attorney – basically a power of attorney to make decisions about your health.
- Advanced Medical Directives/Living Will – includes a health care proxy; a living will and other important medical instructions.
If you followed this long into the blog…one of the speakers asked us to recite the children’s rhyme…Ring Around the Rosie. This rhyme isn’t as innocent as you think as it dates back to the Great Plague of London in 1665. The “Ashes Ashes” refers to the cremation of the dead bodies and each line in this sweet rhyme is reference to illness and death. Google it if you don’t believe me. Oh, yeah, check out “olly olly oxen free”…if you think it means you are safe to come out into the open without losing the game, then you are in for a surprise.