Recap WITI Boston - October 8, 2014

Emily Ubik

October 20, 2014

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Recap WITI Boston - October 8, 2014
"Women and Wealth Workshop: Creating a Strategy That Works For You"

By Emily Ubik

Last Wednesday evening women gathered around a conference table at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in downtown Boston for a workshop on financial management and investment. Financial advisors, Alethia Mariotta and Joan Khattab, lent their practical knowledge and financial expertise in this intimate setting, answering a variety of questions. Ranging from 401Ks to budget making, and wills to umbrella insurance, these ladies gave advice on every topic inquired about. In this comfortable setting complete with refreshments and delicious food, introductions were made first.

After each attendee introduced herself, Alethia and Joan began by covering the basics of managing your own money. The first step towards financial management is simple - making a budget. No matter how much money you have (or don't have), it is imperative to have a budget. It does not have to be complicated or extremely precise, a rough estimate will do. Take a minimum of four bank statements, add them up, and analyze what you are spending. A budget will help you determine how much money you are using and where. If you do not like what you see, remember: these numbers can be changed! Establishing a cash limit each week (note the cash part here) can help you to stay within your means. Two budget busters to watch out for are entertainment and wardrobe items. Also, some subsections to consider are ones for gifts and charities. At a minimum they recommended reviewing your financial plan annually and your portfolio three times a year.

The conversation then moved on to the subject of insurance. Joan suggested that for apartment insurance, the amount should only be the replacement value of anything you care about. Alethia, Joan, and a few of the attendees strongly supported having umbrella liability insurance. This type of insurance can only be purchased once you own a home and costs about one hundred and fifty dollars a month per million. Umbrella insurance is essentially for losses not covered by other policies. In the aftermath of any type of emergency, it can be extremely beneficial to have.

From there, the discussion flowed into financial options offered by your company. How do you know what to choose? Joan recommended printing out all of the options and going through it yourself or with a financial advisor. She stressed that you should take advantage of the financial options offered. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to make a few phone calls to ask some questions. In particular, Roth 401Ks were highlighted as a smart choice. With this type of 401K, you will not receive a tax saving the first year. However, forever after that it remains tax-free!

The topic of trusts was also discussed in detail. There are two different types of trusts - revocable and irrevocable. One reason to set up a trust is if there is a dissolution of marriage, you will have already defined whose stuff is whose. Privacy is another motive. A trust can protect your family's assets or even prevent other people from seeing how much you were worth after you pass away. Lastly, a trust can be passed on directly to whomever you like without going through the troubles of probate.

When it comes to managing your money, there are three key people you should consider surrounding yourself with: an attorney, accountant, and a financial advisor. A financial advisor's job is to ask the questions that you do not know that you need to ask; they have your best interests at heart. In addition to this, a financial advisor will assess you situation, employ your goals, make suggestions, and review your finances for you.

Before the evening was over, Alethia handed out folders filled with financial planning worksheets, fliers on investment, and an investment personality questionnaire. To learn more, Joan recommended watching PBS's "WealthTrack" with Consuelo Mack, reading "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" by Andrew Tobias, or referring to Barron's "Dictionary Finance and Investment Terms" by John Downes. This event was beneficial for those just starting to become involved with financial management, as well as individuals who manage their own investments. Financial advice was given, personal stories were shared and new connections were made - another successful WITI Boston event!

About the Author:
Emily Ubik is in her fourth year at Boston University pursuing a double major in electrical engineering and archaeology. She comes to Boston from the Midwest and was interested in getting to know women in business and making connections. She came across Women in Technology through her father, when he mentioned that WITI was trying to become more involved with universities. She is now an active member of the local network and is looking forward to writing more about WITI Boston events.

About Women in Technology Boston:
The Boston affiliation of Women in Technology International offers multiple events throughout the year in metro Boston and downtown. Our focus is to provide ways in which women of all ages, skill sets and backgrounds connect with other women both locally and globally to advance their careers and improve the leadership development skills. For 2014 fun events and relevant leadership development content will be provided for members and non-members alike. To learn more and see what's up next, visit

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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