Financial advisor Kristi Morrow owns InReach Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. She works with women of all ages going through a life transition—marriage and consolidating finances, divorce and dividing assets, job changes and negotiations, or widowhood. Morrow explains that financial planning is not a sprint, but a marathon. With thoughtful planning and small tweaks along the way, all your dreams can be InReach. Here, she answers our questions.
How does InReach Wealth Advisors assist clients?
We work with clients by understanding their values and what goals are important to them. We help clients understand that their money should revolve around their wants and needs, not the other way around. What do you want your money to do for you?
Why is retirement planning important for women, and does it differ from planning for men?
In addition to the life changes that can impact finances, such as divorce, widowhood, and other unexpected events, women face an income gap, longer lifespans, and have multiple roles and responsibilities. On average, women receive 81.5 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. This means women need help negotiating a better salary, maximizing their workplace benefits, and investing wisely to optimize savings.
Women live an average of five years longer than men. This means they need to save more to last longer, making sure they are protected for the long-term. They may also need to consider working past the typical retirement age. Women usually have multiple roles and responsibilities, including familial (parent, partner, daughter), workplace, and community.
You mention working past the typical retirement age. Should women plan to claim social security benefits at age 62 or wait longer?
Like most financial planning, there isn’t one right answer. If you can afford to wait to claim your social security benefit, delaying can be more beneficial in the long run. We help our clients decide the right time to claim social security, and the financial benefits of waiting to file versus applying early.
Is it possible for women to plan for their different roles and responsibilities?
We work with our clients to prioritize all of their needs and plan accordingly. The familial role women face has challenges. Parenting is a big responsibility on all fronts, including finances. As of February 2018, the average cost of raising a child through age 17 is $233,610. The average four-year, in-state public college costs $85,480. A 2016 AARP report states that 75% of all family caregivers to parents are female, with average annual out-of-pocket costs of $6,954. It is also important to plan for the unexpected.
Speaking of the unexpected, COVID-19 has been difficult for many women. How can we plan for the unexpected?
There will always be something going on in the world, whether it’s the tech bubble (2000), housing market crash (2007), or COVID-19, that will try to derail our financial goals. It is important to never take more risks than you feel comfortable with or that will keep you up at night. We help clients assess the appropriate amount of risk for them, while still achieving their goals. We focus on making sure our clients have three to six months of expenses in cash reserves for events such as job loss or other emergencies. With short-term needs met, retirement assets can remain invested for the long-term, allowing them to recover from downturns in the market and grow over time.
How should a woman who has never worked with a financial advisor get started?
Working with a financial advisor should feel like a partnership. It is important to do your due diligence and make sure your financial advisor is properly licensed and experienced. Equally important is finding the right match. Your financial advisor should understand you and your goals and be willing to work with your other professionals, such as your CPA and attorney, to form a cohesive team. InReachWealth.com