Welcome to the official blog of WIFS, sponsored by Prudential.

LeadHER highlights hot topics that impact women in the profession, the latest WIFS news, and important industry updates. We invite our members and industry thought leaders to submit articles to be featured in upcoming monthly LeadHER blog posts. Please email office@wifsnational.org if you're interested in providing an article that aligns with the following topics:

March 2020

Your Financial Survival Kit

Woman in the rain

By Ande Frazier, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RICP, BFA(tm), ChSNC

As a self-described planner, I am always making a list and getting organized for every event. No, I am not a control freak, well most of the time, but I do believe that being prepared and planning ahead can allow you to be calmer in the face of chaos.

It wasn’t too long ago I remember listening to the news talk about preparing for SuperStorm Sandy. As a New York resident, I was certainly concerned about what would happen when the storm hit. I gathered the necessary items they suggested and felt calm knowing that in the event the worst happened, I was at least as prepared as possible.

With the concerns about viruses, weather disasters, and other unforeseen events, it occurred to me that while we may have extra bottles of water, medicine and canned food, how prepared are we for a financial emergency?

There are different kinds of emergencies, but having a list of what you need handy is a great start. Here are some things to consider having or doing prior to a financial emergency:

Keep some cash handy. I don’t mean having thousands of dollars shoved in a shoebox, but having some cash on hand allows you to operate if there is a run on the ATMs.

Make sure you have a copy of all your account numbers for your financial assets. In addition, have a list of names, phone numbers, emails and physical addresses of the financial institutions you interact with.

Keep copies of all documents in a safe location in the event of flood or fire.

Have an emergency credit card ready. This card needs to have a credit limit that would allow you to stay in a hotel for several days, get food and even provide necessary transportation.

Build your liberty fund. Whether it is so you can leave that job you loathe or the relationship that is toxic, or to pay bills if you can’t work because of quarantine, you should have six months worth of livingexpenses saved up for any and all emergencies.

Have backups for child care. If there is an outbreak of some virus and your normal child care facility closes or school is out, you will be glad you have a few alternatives at the ready.

Review all your company’s benefit plans and time off policies. Know what you can and can’t do. This includes what happens if you have a shor-term disability or have to relocate temporarily.

Properly fund your HSA account. A Health Savings Account is typically used with high-deductible health plans and is largely for copays and deductibles, but it can be used for medicine prescribed by a doctor. It also covers vision and dental care. And if you don’t need it during the year, it rolls over. If you fund this every year to its maximum, it can even allow you to buy long-term care insurance later in life.

Make sure the beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement plans are up to date.

Have your will and advance directives done and shared with those who will be affected. Consider if a power of attorney document
should be on hand, too.

Make sure all your insurance policies are paid and up to date. If you don’t have insurance, now is the time. This includes everything from car, homeowners and liability to health, disability and life insurance. Remember, you can’t go back and fix a mistake after the fact. Secure your insurability while you can.

Having all this will at least give you some peace of mind. Life and money are inextricably linked whether we like or not. Being prepared gives you the best chance to not be caught off guard.

Ande Frazier, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, RICP, BFA(tm), ChSNC is CEO and Editor in Chief of myWorth and the author of the new book "Financially Free: 11 Conversations to Have with Yourself about Life, Money, and Worth." You can read more from her in the April issue of AdviseHER magazine.

© 2020 Women in Insurance and Financial Services. All Rights Reserved.

“Never apologize; it’s a sign of weakness.”

John Wayne famously uttered those words in the film “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” but for those of us who aren’t The Duke and don’t live in a 70-year-old Western, apologies are sometimes necessary. Witness the backlash when a celebrity caught behaving badly makes an insufficient or insincere apology (“I’m sorry if I offended anyone” and such).

Like anything else, however, apologies are subject to the “too much of a good thing” phenomenon. Excessive apologizing can undermine your effectiveness as a leader. It’s not a sign of weakness, but it can weaken others’ confidence in your abilities. Saying “I’m sorry” over and over again is like saying “I messed up” over and over again. Who wants to work with someone who’s always messing up?

Worse, “over-apologizing can desensitize your listeners when you want to deliver a sincere and necessary apology,” Donna Moriarty writes at careercontessa.com. “The more you say you’re sorry, the less power it has. Remember the boy who cried wolf? If everything rises to the need for an apology, then nothing does.”

Read the complete article here.

By Chia-Li Chien, PhD, CFP®, PMP®, Assistant Professor and Director of Financial Planning Program at California Lutheran University

Robots are whirring their way into our lives. My husband TC and I were in San Francisco two years ago. I was on a business trip, TC visited friends and families. One night after our dinner, we went to the Mall for a walk. We found this robot that asked my husband if he’d like to learn how to dance. TC hesitated but the robot started to show some dance moves with a song. After 30-seconds or so, TC said, "Oh, this is stupid!" The robot immediately stopped and said to my husband, "Would you like to learn another language?" I laughed so hard, and I believe the robot is smarter than my husband!

Robots have been helping with our daily chores for decades. I grew up having a rice cooker as a typical kitchen appliance. Today, a cat could press the button for you to get your rice done. A couple of years ago, I bought a bread machine so I can have home-made whole grain bread. I make mostly Chinese steam buns from the bread machine today. Did I mention that your cat now supervises the vacuum robot at your home? While you are busy at work, your cat oversees its operation. Obviously, people programmed robots to help us. Robots tend to help us free up time so we can enjoy other more important things like eating, living, and entertainment. Having robots or automation is not new in the financial industry. Robo-Advisor is the latest trend where the primary focus is to reduce costs for investors. According to Stat Bank from Journal of Financial Planning, robo-advisors managed assets worth $75 billion in 2018. The same report indicated that robo-advisors are in the upward trend to $250 billion assets under management by 2020.

Read the complete article here.

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