Posted on 17 November 2010
By Mark Miller
My friend Manisha Thakor is a financial planning expert who has devoted herself to the challenge of helping women to get smart about money and retirement planning.
Manisha is a passionate advocate on the subject. “But definitely not because we are “worse than men” with money, that’s a total myth,” she says. “My 15 years working in financial services has shown me that men and women are equally confused because we still have no formal financial education in this country.
“Rather I choose to focus my work specifically on women for two simple reasons: First, it’s even more important for us to get this money stuff right given the brutal financial headwinds we face that men currently do not — earning $0.78 on the male dollar and spending 11 fewer years in the paid work force than men due to caring for children and elderly parents. Second, because we’re the ones left holding the bag at the end of the day when poor household financial decision are made.”
Manisha has written two well-received books about women and money, including Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey (Adams Media, 2009). Now, she’s offering an online class aimed at helping women understand the basics of personal finance. Called Money Rules, the class carries a fee of $99 and will include five hours of lectures, supplemental readings and interactive exercises.
The class is the first in an ongoing endeavor she is calling The Women’s Financial Literacy Initiative.
“Many working women are overlooked by the financial advisory community because their current incomes and net worths fall under the traditional high net worth definitions,” Manisha says. “So with this course I seek to cost-effectively present to them the 80 percent of basic personal finance information that is “the same” for everyone and then help students understand which kind of advisors (percent of asset under management, hourly fee-based, salaried firm-based, CPA-PFS etc.) are right to help them address the inevitable 20 percent of personal finance that is unique to them.
“My hope is that after taking this course students will be able to more effectively manage their money on their own and/or more confidently work with the advisor that is right for their situation. The information I present is the classic investment information – what’s so unique about the class is the delivery mechanism.”
Here are the key course take-aways:
1. Order of priority for saving versus paying down debt: classic dilemma faced by both genders in an era where it’s normal to be carrying huge student loan burdens into your late 30 and beyond
2. How to create a powerful, keep-it-simple investment portfolio: understanding the effect of fees, the importance of diversification, and the best types of accounts to utilize for short and long-term savings.
3. The types of financial advisors out there & how to find the right one for you: what questions to ask, what fee ranges are normal, how to prepare for a meeting with an advisor
4. How to handle money in the context of a romantic relationship: Increasingly important as the percent of female breadwinners hits 40%… the money dynamic on many home-fronts has shifted dramatically in the He-Session…
5. Rules of thumb for how much home, car, or education you can comfortably afford: So much of the current financial crisis was caused by people not knowing how much was reasonable to spend on key life expenditures.
Click here for information on the class and how to sign up.