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June 14th, 2012

Women, Work & Money – What Your Financial Planner Needs to Know About Your Job

Last week, we discussed the value of getting your financial planner involved in issues related to your work. This week, we continue the topic of Women, Work & Money with a discussion for those of us who work for someone else.

Whether our employment is through a large corporation, a non-profit, a small business or any other situation where we receive a W2 at the end of the year, there are certain things we’d be wise to talk with our financial planner about. From taking a new job to determining how to invest a company-provided 401K plan, our financial planners can add significant value to our decision-making process.

All we have to do is let them know what’s going on.

Unfortunately, while many of us keep our financial planners up to date about our personal lives and goals, we neglect to let them know anything about our working lives, such as when we’ve taken a new job. But why?

In truth, most people just don’t think about what their financial planners need to know related to work and why they need to know it. Women even more so than men, because of the out-dated, but still pervasive mindset (a mindset that’s held even by us ourselves!) that women are not the primary breadwinners – even if we are – and, therefore, that what happens during a woman’s career is less important and not worth discussing with a financial planner. Seriously.

So, let’s tackle the second part first: Why do our financial planners need to know the details of our employment situation?

Quite simply, because MANY aspects of our employment are related to our wealth – usually in terms of growing it (our salaries and benefits packages) or in terms of protecting it (health insurance, life insurance, disability-income insurance, etc). Our financial planners need to know what is happening in our working lives so that they can better help us manage our wealth and make wise decisions.

Now, onto the second part: What your financial planner needs to know about your job.

Here’s a short course on when to alert or talk with your financial planner about your employment:


  • When you get a job offer, but before you negotiate salary or benefits or say yes to the job.
  • When a current or potential employer has given you a contract to sign.
  • When an employer or soon-to-be-ex employer hands you a non-compete agreement.
  • When you get a raise.
  • When you want to leave your job.
  • When you are searching for a new job and comparing offers.
  • If you receive a salary cut.
  • If you get fired.
  • If you get laid off.
  • If you become disabled.
  • If you or your partner becomes pregnant.
  • If you need to take a leave of absence.
  • When you want to take a sabbatical – or when you must take a sabbatical because it’s required.
  • If you change from a full-time to a part-time job or vice versa.
  • If you are in a non-traditional family structure or a civil union.
  • If you get married.
  • If you are in any type of alternative working arrangement from job sharing to cloud commuting.
  • If you have work-related expenses that you are paying for out of your own pocket – even if you are being compensated by your employer.
  • When you are handed information about any new 401K or Profit Sharing Plan.
  • Before you make changes to your 401K plan.
  • If you are offered a board position at your company or at another company.
  • When determining which employer-provided insurance coverage to take – or how much coverage to get (of any type of insurance).
  • When you are analyzing gaps in your employer-provide insurance coverage (of any type of insurance).
  • Before you make changes to your employer-provided insurance coverage (of any type of insurance).
  • When you want to retire or are starting to consider retirement (preferably, as early as possible in the retirement planning process – even if it’s decades before you plan to retire).
  • After you retire, if you are planning on going back to work in any capacity.

If you’re sensing that you need to alert your financial planner to practically any change related to your employment or career, you are right. There are hidden wealth management issues within every aspect of employment and our working lives.

Talking with your financial planner regularly throughout your career is simply more critical than most of us imagine – and keeping your financial planner informed can make a dramatic and positive difference in your financial picture.

After all, if there’s one aspect of our lives that is most related to our finances, it’s likely our paid employment – and if we can all be wealth wiser at work, we can all be better off in the rest of our lives.

To getting wiser!

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