I saw Michelle Cooper speak at a Teach Give Inspire Fridays event last year and was mesmerized by her financial knowledge and ability to simplify what can be a really complicated maze for any non-math people. I asked her to share some of her top tips from her recent book – I’ve Still Got Me – here at the Lounge. I hope this helps you manage the business of YOUR family’s financial health. Curious what ideas my readers have on this topic? Add a comment to the post to keep the conversation going. – Amy 🙂

Tips for Managing your Financial Health – A Topic for all Moms

by Michelle P. Cooper, Director and Co-founder of XML-W, a division of XML Financial Group

For many moms, our days are filled with taking care of others. We masterfully juggle the demands of work, home, family and aging parents. If we’re lucky, we might squeeze in a few minutes for ourselves and watch a show, get our nails done, grab coffee with a friend or take a nap…to name a few favorites. What rarely comes to mind is using our extra time to focus on our financial health to make sure it is as strong as possible. In fact, many of us are so darn busy that our financial health falls to the bottom of the “to do” list and we never get to it. One out of every four women has not planned for her financial future. I learned this lesson the hard way when my husband suddenly passed away when my twins were two years old. Without any forewarning, I was in charge of our finances, taking care of my children and keeping our household running. This time in my life was overwhelming and gave me a powerful wake-up call. So much so, that I wrote a book called I’ve Still Got Me about how I was able to cope with the loss of my loving husband and find the resilience to rebuild my life. In my book, I share useful tips on how to create and build financial security. Here are five simple, easy tips to help you strengthen your financial health.

  • TIP #1 – Household Bills
    • Make sure your name is listed on every service account. If your name is not listed, you have no authority.
    • Be aware of your bills and how they get paid (autopay, web billpay or check). Know the passwords to access all accounts online.
  • TIP #2 – Account Titles
    • Is your name on the account? Check titles on all financial accounts. If your name is not listed find out why….is it an oversight or for financial planning purposes?
  • TIP #3 Review your statements and open your mail
    • Review all your credit card statements and other invoices. Make sure each transaction is one that you authorized. If you do not recognizof a professional to help you develop a plan that outlines your financial goals and how to achieve them
  • TIP #4 – Know what you own and what you owe
    • Make a list of your assets and liabilities…otherwise known as a net worth statement.
  • TIP #5 – Create a Financial Plan
    • This is the most important tip.  You should have a financial plan no matter what stage of life you are in.  If you need help, seek the guidance of a professional to help you develop a plan that outlines your financial goals and how to achieve them.

Author Info: Michelle P. Cooper is the Director and Co-founder of XML-W, a division of XML Financial Group, which focuses on the planning and financial needs of women at all stages of their lives. She brings to XML-W over 25 years of experience in the estate planning, finance and tax fields. Prior to joining the XML team, she worked for Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust as a Director helping high-net-worth clients design and update their estate plans. She also had the responsibility of educating over 650 financial advisors on estate planning and trust services. Before starting her career at Merrill Lynch in 1996, she worked as an attorney specializing in tax and estate planning for the law firms of Ralph R. Polachek & Associates and Joseph, Gajarsa, McDermott & Reiner, P.C.