Mistakes?

Sally Krawcheck wrote a great piece recently. I have to bring her wisdom to you.

She begins with a few  “misjudgments” we women might make. Now I am sure each of you is….perfect. But just in case you are a bit more human, and so may occasionally err (like I do), I thought I would list a few here.

This list starts with a few the mistakes that wives/partners often make. One or two might seem a  little “retro.” Read them anyway, making sure you have not done these things, because you trust a partner too much, or  think you do not have enough time, or will never face a crisis like divorce or the death of a partner.

1. Letting your husband or partner manage the money, without getting involved.

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As a woman in the 21st century, you need to know how much money you hold as an individual, how much he/she holds and how much you both hold jointly in accounts. You need to know where the money is stashed, how it is managed, and if it is managed or mismanaged. You also need to be able to discern whether your partner is hiding money or misdeeds from your  (like maintaining “another woman” or engaging in some nefarious and illegal activity) and doing so with your money and risking your good name.

You also need to know how much money your partner/husband earns. That dollar amount is written right there on the front page of the the tax return, and the W-2 slips that you need to provide to the IRS. If your partner earns a substantial amount, you need to concern yourself with the ways in which this money is spent or retained to increase your joint financial security. Does your partner/spouse share income with you? Do you each hold accounts in your names, and/or joint accounts? Or does he (or she) hold it all in his/her name?  Are there provisions made for loss, such as a death? Are there steps taken to make sure you will not be left penniless? And if you  have children, what has been done to provide for them, as heirs or orphans.

This becomes important whether you are dependent upon your partner for an income, or if you both earn a living. You need to make good decisions about the income you both earn. Why? In the 21st century, one of you is likely to lose a job, at some point–due to corporate restructuring, downsizing, mergers & acquisitions, etc. So you need to deploy your income while you each work to make sure you have an emergency fund (to tide you through job losses). And you  have to make certain you are saving enough cash from each paycheck and investing it in case of a long term loss of income, a disability or loss of your partner.

Let me offer you a third one on her insightful list. 

3. Making decisions about staying at home, versus retaining employment after you have children (or care for an ill parent, in-law etc.) without calculating the long term impact on your career and your family’s income, is a lapse.

Why consider this? Once you leave the workforce you are less likely to return to a position of equal status and income.  History has shown that women’s income is often only 77% of that of a man. Some argue that this lower pay is a function of our movement out of and back into the workforce. So, why not think this decision through, with the aid of a spreadsheet? Run some scenarios about the dates of your  return to the workforce. Make sure you calculate best case and worst case scenarios and then run a scenario for something in between these two.

These are just 3 of the “The Top 10 Financial Mistakes Women Make” according to Ms. Krawchek. I promise to offer you a few more in subsequent posts.

The Supreme Court helps Hot Flash Mamas

The Supreme Court’s decision on Obama’s Health Care Law (actually called the Affordable Care Act) is a win for women and families. So smile a very sweet smile and read what this means for you. This is a quick summary, designed for Hot Flash Financial Mamas (or women “of a certain age and distinction”).

If you have a parent who is elderly, you will be pleased to know that s/he will be able to buy a lot more of her/his prescription drugs at affordable prices. The Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare) closed the “donut hole” for people with Medicare Part D. That hole was created (during the Bush Administration) once elderly people, like your mother, bought more than $2,930 of medicines prescribed for her. So, after your mother’s retail  prescription costs hit $2,931, she “fell into that hole.”  Her next prescription refill cost her much more money. She was not shielded by Medicare’s discount or recommended price. That increase in costs was really hard for elderly people whose income is “fixed” and often limited.

Today, Obama’s Affordable Care Act will continue to close that “donut hole” thanks to the Supreme Court decision. Your mother, and father too,  will  be able to pay less for their prescription drugs, so important as they age.

Wow, that is a great load off your mind.

If you  have adult children who are unable to find a job in the Great Recession, the Obama Affordable Care Act allows them  stay on your health insurance until their 26th birthday.

What a relief for moms (and dads too) to know your young adult children are covered by medical insurance until they find a job that provides medical benefits, or age 26.

And for you, and anyone you help care for, insurance companies can not kick you or your family member off of their coverage because

  1. You or a family member has  reached a lifetime dollar limit, or
  2. You or a child or any other family member has a pre-existing condition. (There is some small print in this part of the bill, a function of negotiation with insurance companies, that delays some of this benefit until 2014. But let’s use this summary to make some of the key points.)
  3. If you pay all your health insurance bills and become sick and disabled, you and your family member can not be denied coverage

More preventive care is covered at no additional costs to women. This includes mammograms.

So let’s celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a law that must have been written for mothers and daughters, to ease their minds about the health of their family.