Diversity Woman Magazine

SPR 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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DW Life > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S p r i n g 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 41 very strong possibility you're going to av- erage 6 to 8 percent a year." e time span you have to invest is crucial, which is another reason planning is so important. "A person should never venture into anything related to the stock market, whether it be individual stocks, mutual funds, a 401(k) even, unless they have five-plus years because of the volatil- ity of the market," Coutu says. Squash your debt Paying down the money you owe to credit card companies and other lenders is a good goal in itself, and it can also help you boost your credit score and achieve other aspirations. "It's hard to see your financial future if you have a mountain of debt blocking your view," Wheeler says. "Before you can even begin to build wealth, you need to eliminate what's holding you back." Develop financial habits that work for you Consider the options that will best help you stay disciplined with your finances. Wheeler, for instance, only uses cash, which she says helps her hold herself more accountable. "I've had the credit card, and the debt was out of control," she says. "Because I don't have credit cards now, I have financial peace, and that helps building for my future as well." Embracing the power of automation could prove useful. You may be able to have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited into a savings account, for instance. You can also schedule regular transfers from your checking account into your brokerage account. is auto- pilot approach will save you time and mental energy and eliminates the temp- tation to spend the funds. "I was very surprised when I started setting up automatic allotments to move money over—it's almost like something you just set and forget," says Lacey Man- ning, chief executive officer and owner of the insurance and financial agency LTG Financial in Ocala, Florida. "If you're not actually going through the motions to do it, it just gets done." Find someone to help you A financial planner and financial coach can be invaluable. Wheeler also sees a role for a friend or family member to serve as an "accountability partner" to help you stay on track with your monthly goals. "It's so easy to lose motivation and to be mentally drained, especially when you're trying to cover everyday expenses as well as build your financial future," Wheeler says. "If you know you have to check in, you're going to make sure you're doing the right thing. Maybe you won't get the Star- bucks." DW Mindy Charski (@mindycharski) is a Dallas- based freelancer who specializes in business journalism. The search for extra funds 1 "Leverage your talent," Mary Wheeler says. Take a second job or find a way to gener- ate income from a hobby. 5 Shop around annually for better rates on expenses like insurance and utilities (if you live in an area that lets you choose providers for natural gas and electricity). Manning says, "I shopped for new homeowners insur- ance last year and saved $300 and still got the same benefits." —MC A little creativity can go a long way in generating cash. Here are five ideas worth considering. 2 Change your spending habits. "The easiest one is eating out at lunch. So you say, 'That's ridiculous. I'm spending $300 a month at lunch because I'm lazy? I'm just going to brown-bag it,' and that's $300 back in your cash flow," Nancy Coutu says. 3 Scrutinize expenses for unnecessary excess. Lacey Manning was able to reduce the cost of her cell phone, Inter- net, and cable bills by dropping features she wasn't using, like international calling and the mobile hot-spot function. "Call [companies] and ask questions," she says. "Don't be shy." 4 Find categories you can downsize, Wheeler says, like your car or place of living. It's hard to see your financial future if you have a mountain of debt blocking your view. . . . Eliminate what's holding you back. ISTOCKPHOTO

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