For International Women's Day, Lisa Platz of Aegon's US business, Transamerica, emphasizes how important it is for all women to become more educated about personal financial fitness at an early age.
Looking at your picture in the mirror, describe your state of mind?
I see a wiser, more confident woman who has learned an enormous amount about financial planning and retirement planning over the years. While I think I have saved enough at this stage of my career to maintain my lifestyle in retirement, I plan to work for at least another 10 years and max out my retirement plan contributions and Health Savings Account. I'm motivated by my desire to remain an independent single woman who can live on my terms as long as possible. Because of my experience in financial services, I'm fully aware that one health scare could wipe out my savings and cause me to become a burden to my children. With that in mind, I'm in the process of drafting my estate plan.
What financial advice would you give to your younger self?
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to become more educated about personal financial fitness at an early age. Despite earning my business finance degree, I made several mistakes along the way.
At one point, a broker convinced me to roll over my IRA (Individual Retirement Account) into loaded mutual funds and to purchase both term and whole life insurance because I was starting a family. While I believe IRAs and insurance are essential pieces of an overall retirement strategy, the broker made a handsome commission at my expense. Unfortunately, I later repeated my mistake with another broker. It may not have been the case, but I felt as though he was more interested in his sales goals than my financial goals. After a divorce, I found a certified financial planner who has my best interests in mind. Together, we developed a holistic strategy based on my needs and vision of retirement.
Since it's too late to help my younger self, I'd recommend that all women educate themselves as much as possible. They need to be armed with information and work with a trustworthy financial advisor who truly has their back. Or take advantage of any employer benefits that offer education or access to an advisor.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to become more educated about personal financial fitness at an early age.
Looking forward, what do you want to achieve and how does that fit into your retirement planning?
As much as I'd love to discover eternal youth, I'm familiar with the longevity tables and don't want to cause headaches for my loved ones once I'm gone. I'm currently drafting my estate plan, which includes several key documents such as a revocable living trust and a power of attorney. I procrastinated for years and then realized that I was creating a risk for my family. Quite an oversight for someone who is risk-averse. An upcoming family trip to Tasmania and New Zealand ultimately spurred me into action, but everyone should be pragmatic enough to put a plan in place as early as possible. Regardless of age or income, just about everyone needs an estate plan.
Since I've never been one to sit idle, I'm hoping to be mentally and physically able to enjoy an active retirement that blends work and leisure. My bucket list is a mile long, and I'm doing my best to put a strategy in place to help me cross off as many items as possible. I'm excited about what's to come.
Also in the Woman in the mirror series