How A Series Of Difficult Life Circumstances Made Me Realize The Value Of Financial Empowerment

By Ashley Russo

I am a licensed financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual—a Fortune 500 company and global leader in financial and lifestyle long-term planning. My primary focus is preparing women with the tools and confidence necessary to achieve their financial goals. I am the #1 advisor on the west coast for a Fortune 100 Company in the Silver category and #3 in the nation.

I am your peer and your advocate. Like you and many of my peers, I’ve faced setbacks and challenges. I lost my mother at 19, went through an unexpected and unkind divorce and never received a formal education. Life, like the stock market, isn’t a perfectly straight and predictable line. Rather, it’s more like a rollercoaster, and if we learn to be more prepared and be successful in handling our responsible for family and ourselves.

1 in 3 Americans has $0 saved for retirement. Women are 27% more likely than men to say they have no retirement savings. Two-thirds of women (63%) say they have no savings or less than $10,000 in retirement savings, compared with just over half (52%) of men.

As women, we must start paying attention to our financial life responsibilities and health and here are the reasons why:

  1. Women will spend at least part of their lives on their own- as sole earners, after divorces, (50%) as widows (at an average age of 59)
  2. We are wearing the lady pants as 4 in 10 women out earn their spouses; Women hold approximately 30% of global wealth. We are the largest emerging market in the world, twice as big as India and China combined
  3. Women may have fewer resources to work with earning 77 cents for every dollar a man makes

As women, we want more details and information in a language we can understand. Modern-day women are more practical and want peace of mind to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Women want assets so they can not only take care of themselves but be prepared for their families to feel stable and secure. Having a financial plan is the first and most critical step you can take to make your dreams for the future a reality.

Step One: Address risk first when creating a financial plan:

Risk management- Protect against the unexpected by managing risk. Protect your ability to reach your goals against things that are beyond your control such as: experiencing an accident or injury. Getting sick or dying early. Managing risk is one of the most important aspects of financial planning. Life is unpredictable.

1 in 4 employees will be disabled for 3 months or more during their income earning years. What happens to your lifestyle if you lose your earning power? Disability insurance can cover this gap. Check with your employer to see if you can get group coverage. Group coverage will protect 60% of your paycheck. You can cover this gap with your own Long Term Disability coverage. We protect our cars, cell phones and homes against unforeseen events. Why not our income- it’s what pays for everything else.

How many of us are currently proving care to a loved one or has done so in the past? 42% of all workers in the U.S have provided care for an aging relative. The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old women who is married, has a job and is often a mother. 47% of caregivers used up all or most of their savings on taking care of a loved one. If you live beyond 65 there is a 70% chance you will need long term care. What do we do? Plan ahead and purchase a Long-Term Care policy to protect your loved ones and yourself. Insurance is important and there are plenty of resources available where you can find the right policy for you wherever you live, such as looking into the top insurers in Canada. Remove the financial burden and uncertainty from you to an insurance company.

When you take the time now to care of yourself, you are actually helping those you care about too.

Step Two: Now that you have preserved what you are working so hard to achieve, now save and invest for your future goals

How much time did you spend planning your last vacation? Retirement will be the longest vacation of your life. Funding retirement is far different today than it was for your parents or grandparent’s generations. You are responsible for creating your own paycheck in retirement. A few things to consider: risk tolerance, time horizon and tax impact.

Volatility in the investment markets can significantly affect your retirement income and savings. Cash reserves, guaranteed income sources and proper asset allocation through a risk profile can help mitigate the markets impact. For many taxes are one of the largest annual expenses in retirement. Tax planning, choosing the right accounts to draw from, converting deferred accounts and using permanent life insurance cash values can make your money last longer and be more efficient.

Financial strategies change over time, depending on changing life experiences. This may include going back to work, or leaving work to care for children or older relatives. 60% of women who work with a financial advisor say they feel confident about reaching retirement goals and feel empowered when they are they are comfortable about their financial situation

Here are 3 quick things you can do today:

  1. Start saving now! You are better off putting dollars away today than waiting- this is known as the compound effect. At 25 years, old by putting away $381/month earning an average of 7% with the proper strategy and investments you can have a million dollars by the time you are 65!!
  2. Create a short-term safety net. Keep an equivalent of six months of living expenses in an account you can access easily. A budget and balance sheet along with debt management are a very important part of the conversation.
  3. Far too often, not having a financial plan and not planning prevents women from reaching their goals. Fear is eliminated when you are have a plan, accountability and the guidance to reach your goals.

I’m here as a resource and looking forward to help you reach your goals, peace of mind, financial freedom flexibility and lifestyle that will keep you prepared for all emergencies and responsibilities. You can contact me at :

Ashley Russo is a licensed financial representative with North Western Mutual—a Fortune 500 company and global leader in financial and long-term planning. With a passion for helping women and a mastery of monetary and personal protection strategies, Ashley found her calling as a financial representative; where she can educate and arm women with the tools necessary to achieve their goals.

Ashley grew up in the world of insurance, her father owning and operating an insurance business for the past 30 years. It was here that she learned the importance of preparing for the future and began her mission to help others to do the same. Since then, she has grown her firm specializing in women’s finances with the help of her team and runs a fast-paced practice focusing on education and empowerment in the world of finance. She taught workshops, been published in magazines, and am is considered the #1 advisor on the west coast for a Fortune 100 Company in the Silver category and #3 in the nation.

One thought on “How A Series Of Difficult Life Circumstances Made Me Realize The Value Of Financial Empowerment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.