Women Need To Empower Themselves

By Dennis Seid Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo.

TUPELO

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch says women shouldn't be afraid of talking about money.

"Empowerment of your money means being money-savvy and planning our future," she said at the fifth annual Renasant Women's Business Symposium at the Tupelo Country Club on Tuesday.

Fitch said women face financial barriers -- some brought upon themselves. But she also said those barriers can, and should, be overcome.

"As women, we're doing better, we're earning more, but we still have old-school concepts about budgeting, about not looking at the big picture."

Fitch identified four barriers and offered tips to overcome them:

--Women tend to be insecure about the subject of money. Fitch said women should educate themselves, learn the language of money (for example, interest rates and compounding), find a financial adviser they like.

--Women end to focus on scrimping instead of investing. "We tend to sweat the small stuff," Fitch said. "I'm a couponer .... but we should always have a concentration on the bigger picture, like investing in our future and putting money in our 401(k). And you have to learn about mortgages and car loans, for example. How much do you owe, what interest rate are you paying. These are important."

--Women rely too much on others for financial know-how. Instead, women need to embrace the challenge, Fitch said. "We have to embrace our finances. ... and we have to transfer that knowledge to our daughters and granddaughters," she said.

--Women aren't always adept at translating abstract figures into concrete goals. Fitch said the focus should not only be on the goals, but the numbers, too.

"We have to calculate and determine how to get those goals and we work toward them," she said. "But what are the real numbers? You can't be afraid of numbers.

"I want you to take time and think about your financial goals, your retirement goals. Nobody will do that for you ... you have to get out of your comfort zone."

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