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Women in business Closing the equity gap

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									Women in business
Closing the equity gap

While the equality gap between men and women has been slowly closing, women still often lag behind men in
terms of investing and savings. Why? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women were paid only 77 cents for
every dollar a man was paid in 2008.

Just as importantly, women also tend to live in the now and invest less aggressively than men. Over the long term
this makes a significant difference.

As women we have to appreciate our own self-worth, negotiate for higher salaries, become confident, savvy
investors and build our own wealth. Creating a strong financial foundation comes down to how you manage your
money and what you save. The more money you earn can easily turn into the more money you spend.

Shopping and careless spending or common frivolous pleasures can deprive women of the opportunity to grow
their wealth through investing and taking advantage of the effects of compound interest during their 20s, 30s and
40s.

This phenomenon is cleverly portrayed in the HBO TV series Sex and the City when character Carrie Bradshaw is
told she is not a "desirable candidate" for a loan due to poor savings and bad credit. She later has an epiphany
when she realizes, "I've spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who
lived in her shoes!"

Does your financial position reflect just how hard you work?

The good news is it is never too late to overhaul your financial well being at any age with a plan and motivation.

Do you have a budget? - Budgeting will help to track where your money is going every month. Make sure that you
don't over spend as it is important to avoid accumulating debt! Look for ways to reduce your costs to ensure that
you not only live within your means, but have extra to save and invest.

Have you already racked up debt? Focus on paying off debt as quickly as possible, especially with high interest
credit card debt. While the minimum amount may be affordable it will cost you more in the long run. For example if
you only pay the minimum on a $5,000 credit card balance with an 18 per cent interest rate, it will take you almost
four years to clear your debt. In that time, you will pay almost $2,000 in interest. If you make monthly payments of
$460 you will pay off in one year and pay only $500 in interest.

Do you have an emergency fund? Ideally you should aim to save the equivalent of about 3-6 months of income.
This will create a financial safety net for you should you suddenly lose your income or an unexpected expense
arises.

Create goals. Identify your financial goals, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to get there?
Whether you are saving for a new car, a vacation, the down payment on a house or planning for retirement,
categorize each goal into a time horizon - short term less than a year, midterm 1 to 5 years and long term over 5
years.

Invest wisely. Invest your money and make it work as hard for you as you did to earn it. By investing and growing
your capital you can protect your purchasing power from the ravages of inflation.

Your investment portfolio should be properly diversified and should reflect your age, risk tolerance and suit your
goals. Work with a professional investment advisor who will help assess the many variables to consider and
determine the right investments for you.

ALEXIA KOBAN is a wealth manager at AFL Investments.

								
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