Learning to become financially independent is an essential skill for women to obtain.
One key reason is that women live longer. Some 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their life. To that point, 75% of women in a male-female relationship will be widowed by an average age of 56.
To be clear, financial independence is not about how much money someone has. It's about making good decisions with the money they do have.
There's a big push in the financial planning industry to market toward women, and with good reason. With more women in the workforce, soaring careers and inheritance, women are in control of a growing amount of the wealth globally.
By 2020, women are expected to control $72 trillion, or 32% of all wealth globally, up from $51 trillion in 2015.
What's disheartening about this marketing, however, is that it tends to focus on what the female investor does wrong.
We see all these studies that conclude: Women invest too conservatively, don't save enough, lack confidence, are less knowledgeable than men — then, a product or service is offered to "fix" the issues.
Women don't need to be fixed, but (like men) they may need guidance. That's where a financial planner comes in, and the key to success is finding a planner who respects where they are and where they want to go and who will take into considerations the unique needs of a woman.
Women are different than men, and how they choose to manage their financial lives is going to be different. That isn't to say that all women are the same, but there are some general trends.
For example, women are seen as more compassionate, thoughtful and open-minded. These qualities can be used to their advantage by making financial decisions that don't allow them to lose sight of the things they most value. For most women, investing isn't just about making money.
It's about being in the position to not only thrive but also to give back — and what that means is different to each person. Some may want time to volunteer, and others may want money to donate.
Women also tend to be more cautious about taking risks, so they invest less aggressively. Using a more consistent investing approach, even if it's slower, can be ideal and give better long-term results.
Regardless of investment strategy and regardless of gender, this formula for reaching financial independence is one that everyone should follow:
Working with a financial advisor can demystify the process. It's important to work with a financial professional who will take the time to understand their clients' goals, passions and concerns.
A good advisor will then put those interests first in finding the right way to achieve those goals. A good advisor is proactive, will invoke confidence and motivate, will keep their clients calm through the market's ups and downs and will shape a financial plan that meets their unique needs.
— By Janice Cackowski, partner and financial advisor at Providence Wealth Partners
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.