5 Things Financially Responsible Women Typically Do

At Corient, we’ve had the good fortune of helping hundreds of women make sound financial decisions over a period of decades. Many are happily married, others are divorced or widowed, while others choose to be single. From all of these experiences helping women navigate life’s joys and challenges, we believe every Financially Responsible Woman (FRW) follows these five key strategies:

1. She minimizes her tax bill

An FRW structures her portfolio in the most tax-friendly way possible, understanding that it’s important to carefully choose which types of investments to own in an IRA and retirement plans versus yearly taxable investments. She also decides with purpose when selecting whether these investments are owned individually, by her trust or jointly. She has considered whether a Roth IRA makes sense for her, and she looks for opportunities to make the most of down markets by “harvesting” tax losses without changing her investment strategy. She is strategic in making charitable contributions to ensure that she maximizes the tax benefits while supporting her most passionate causes.

2. She invests with wisdom

An FRW understands basic financial terms, especially the power of compounding—both how earned interest grows and how inflation eats away at purchasing power. She diversifies her portfolio with an allocation that’s appropriate for her goals and risk tolerance and is disciplined about rebalancing when stock prices get too high or too low. She doesn’t let fear take over in bad markets or allow greed to sway decisions in bull markets. She knows this rational approach is crucial to a successful long-term investment strategy.

3. She has the courage to talk about money

An FRW does not back away from important—although sometimes daunting—conversations about money. By initiating thoughtful and balanced discussions, she negotiates what she is worth at work and helps create a financially responsible family at home. If she’s partnered and has kids, she and her significant other share financial priorities and go a step further by imparting financial independence to their children in an age-appropriate manner.

4. She funds her bucket list

An FRW assesses where she is today and then quantifies and prioritizes specific financial goals in line with her unique values. With her objectives in place, she follows through by adequately funding them. She knows what she wants—and what she does not. She asks herself: What do I want to achieve? What am I missing? What matters most to me? What if things go well? What if things go badly? She’s committed to pursuing her goals and will face head-on whatever life may throw her way.

5. She has a Plan B

An FRW has worked with an attorney to draft estate planning documents such as a will, a trust and powers of attorney in case of death or disability. She manages risk through insurance for herself and her family, understanding the staggering odds that she’s more likely to become disabled than die before retirement age, and that the average age a woman becomes a widow is only 59.1 She thinks about potential long-term care expenses for elderly parents and herself. She keeps separate any inherited assets or those earned before marriage, fully aware that 41% of first marriages fail—not to mention 60% of second ones and 73% of third ones.2

It's a huge task to successfully deliver on all five strategies listed above, but that’s what helps separate a Financially Responsible Woman from the pack. She ensures that all of these strategies are executed with a careful balance of ownership and outsourcing. She takes care of the tasks she enjoys and is comfortable with on her own and prudently turns to experts for the rest. She often chooses to hire an experienced financial advisor whom she trusts and respects so she can ask questions, hand off her biggest worries and build a partnership for executing and updating her strategies as life evolves.


1 https://rethinking65.com/2022/09/07/widows-are-younger-than-you-think/
2 https://www.goldbergjones-or.com/divorce/interesting-divorce-statistics/


Heather Locus

Heather Locus

Partner, Wealth Advisor

Heather is a Partner, Wealth Advisor in our Itasca, IL, office. Heather founded the Women’s Service Team and leads the Divorce Practice Group. She loves solving complex problems by balancing financial and emotional components with tax and legal issues. Heather educates on transitioning through new phases of life with confidence and clarity. She authored The Next Chapter: A Practical Roadmap for Navigating Through, and Beyond, Divorce, and you can read her latest divorce tips at Forbes.com. Heather joined legacy firm BDF in 1998 and soon became one of the first non-founding Partners of the firm.


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