Women have a complex relationship with money. For many professional and accomplished women, money is the last frontier of empowerment. These women know how to control many aspects of their lives, but money remains elusive. According to a 2012-2013 research study conducted by Prudential, Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women, “While women are more in control than ever of their finances, the study shows they are facing significant challenges when it comes to financial decision-making and admit to a lack of knowledge about financial solutions that can help them.”
Further, the study states that well over one-third of women who are bringing home more bacon than their male partners admit to having little-to-no understanding of the very building blocks I personally used to achieve financial independence. Achieving financial empowerment through investing was a highly significant milestone in my life, and my calling is to help thousands of other women reach the same summit. That’s why I founded The Options Lady — a coaching and education service that empowers women of all ages to become successful investors. I specialize in teaching women how to open up an online brokerage account, build a diversified portfolio through exchange-traded funds and individual stocks and use conservative option strategies to generate income and manage risk.
As a financial advisor, I also manage money for women and couples who do not have the time in their busy schedules to do it themselves. But I believe that even if you hire a professional, there is tremendous value in learning how to invest on your own by opening an online brokerage account in which you personally manage some of your assets.
No matter how large or small your account is, the exercise of being your own money manager gives you the foundation and experience to evaluate your current financial advisor’s strategies against those who compete for your business. Whether you choose to manage an account for a short period of time as a learning experience or continue to do it for the rest of your life, this is one of the single most important acts you can take to reach financial empowerment.
Laurie Itkin is the founder of The Options Lady and a financial advisor with Coastwise Capital Group. She’ll be answering reader questions each month as part of our Ask an Advisor series (email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org). To order a copy of her book “Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment,” go to www.theoptionslady.com.