Mother’s Day is upon us. If you’re a mother, you’ll enjoy the recognition you get from your family on this day. And given the health concerns caused by the coronavirus, your appreciation of family may be even greater this year. As we all know, mothers have a difficult job. And many mothers also run their own businesses – another demanding task made even more difficult these days. What special challenges do women face who embark on careers as business owners?
Of course, motherhood itself presents a major challenge. As a society, we have not achieved gender equity yet, in terms of family responsibilities, so mothers – even busy business owners – still face time constraints and interruptions from work to care for children. And it’s not just children, either – the vast majority of caregivers for elderly relatives are women, according to a study from Northwestern University. So, many women business owners may be coping with multi-generational family issues.
You can’t change the demographic pressures you may face, but, as a business owner, you can take some steps to help improve your financial outcomes. Here are a few ideas:
• Seek networking opportunities. You can find useful, and empathetic, allies in other women business owners, who may be able to direct you to valuable resources. To illustrate: Women’s businesses often lack financial support to a greater degree than men’s, and it is unfortunately not uncommon for women to be denied loans because of gender and cultural biases. But if you become active in a network of women business owners, you could find some leads to financial institutions that have showed themselves to be free of gender-based prejudices.
• Be extra aware of investment risks. Everyone should always be aware of investment risk, of course, but if you have most of your assets tied up in your business, you may need to be extra diligent. You’re already taking a fair amount of risk by just having a business, so you may need to balance this risk in your investment portfolio by choosing the mix of investments that can help you move toward your goals without subjecting you to excessive market volatility.
• Establish a retirement plan for yourself. Have you established a retirement savings plan for yourself? About one-third of business owners haven’t, and 40 percent are not confident they can retire before 65, according to data compiled by SCORE, a nonprofit organization that works with small businesses. Fortunately, you have several good retirement plan options, including an “owner-only” 401(k), a SEP-IRA, a SIMPLE IRA or even a solo defined benefit plan, which functions like a pension.
• Create a succession plan. You may need a strategy for transferring or selling your business. Do you want to keep the business in the family? If so, who do you want to take it over? Or would you prefer to simply sell it to someone else? Your decisions, whatever they are, will affect your financial picture and possibly that of your family, so you will want to consult with your tax, legal and financial advisors to arrive at a plan that works best for your needs.
You’ve got some twists and turns ahead of you on the road to financial security. But planning ahead, considering various possibilities and seizing your opportunities can help you smooth out the journey.
[Arnetta Tolley, Financial Advisor Edward Jones Investments 626-744-2740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.