Women’s History Month: Financial Advice by Women, for Women


March is Women’s History Month, a time when people can reflect on and honor the many contributions women have made in American history. In recognition of this month, eight of our women advisors gave their top 3 financial tips for other women who are interested in becoming more financially savvy.    

Leila Evans

Leila Evans, CFP®, Regional President

  1. Get involved and take ownership of your financial affairs. Attend meetings. Ask questions because there are no dumb questions when expanding your financial education.
  2. Surround yourself with a good team (CPA, Advisor, Estate Attorney, etc.). Make sure your team works together, something we take pride in at MAI.
  3. Educate yourself by reading what you can. Ask your advisor for articles or podcasts that can be helpful.
Sally Humphrey

Sally Humphrey, MBA, Senior Wealth Advisor

  1. Open a bank account in your own name.
  2. Open a credit card in your own name.
  3. Fund a retirement account, even if you do not work outside of the home.
Lauren Lippert

Lauren Lippert, CPA, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor

  1. Budget for your wellbeing: women often consider their children and grandchildren before themselves. Remember that it is okay to make YOU a priority.
  2. Stay informed about common scams and be cautious when sharing personal information.
  3. Knowledge is power. By educating our clients on various topics, from estate planning to life insurance, we empower them to make the best financial decisions for their unique situations.
Joan Malloy

Joan Malloy, CPA, CFP®, CFA, Group Head National Family Office & Regional President

  1. Know your numbers! Don’t assume someone will always be there to take care of you. Even though you are busy – whether due to work outside of the home, taking care of kids, planning for the holiday, or all the above and more – don’t let your partner be solely knowledgeable regarding your finances. Make it a priority to annually create or review a net worth statement so you know what you own, how it is titled, and where it is custodied.  
  2. Manage your risks. If you have a net worth of over $500,000, I would seriously consider an umbrella policy, particularly if you have teenagers. Also, know your plan for long term health care coverage because women often outlive their male partners. Policies can be purchased that will pay out a life insurance benefit and contain a long-term care payout option.
  3. Tax optimize your balance sheet. Find out if your employer offers a ROTH 401K option, one of the best-kept secrets, in my opinion. This option allows you to contribute over $20,000 a year, almost triple the Roth IRA maximum, and has no income limitations or phaseouts. The growth in a ROTH 401K can be excluded from income tax and provides additional flexibility when you need to create an income stream.  
Heather Molloy

Heather Molloy, CFP®, CPA/PFS, CDFA, Senior Wealth Advisor

  1. Follow the rule of 72 – a quick way to figure out how long it will take for your investments to double. Divide 72 by the average interest rate your investments earn = number of years to double your account. If you assume your investments can earn an average of 7.2%, your accounts should double in 10 years. (72/7.2% = 10)
  2. Invest in a Two-Step or Backdoor Roth. High earners can fund their Roth IRA accounts, and your investment will grow tax-free.

Step 1: Open both a Traditional IRA and Roth IRA account.

Step 2: Fund your Traditional IRA account with cash up to the annual contribution max ($7,000 for those under age 50, and $8,000 for those age 50 or older).

Step 3: Allow the cash to settle (season) in the Traditional IRA account for 3 days, but do not invest the cash. Then immediately transfer the cash into the Roth IRA account – this is called a Roth conversion. Investment banks will be familiar with the process.

Step 4: Once the cash arrives in the Roth IRA account, invest the funds.

Step 5: Repeat process annually up to the max annual contribution plus age 50 catch-up.

  • We are here to encourage women of all ages to feel comfortable asking questions about their finances and begin to educate themselves about investing. We have a team of female financial advisors ready to work with you to identify your goals and values, so you feel confident about your finances now and in the future.

Kathy Nalywajko, CTFA, Senior Wealth Advisor

  1. Don’t be afraid to share the things you think you should have done but haven’t. You are not alone, and it is rarely as bad as you fear.
  2. Don’t wait to implement a plan or solution. It’s better to be on a plan than not.
  3. Find an advisor who you feel really understands and respects you. It’s your money and your experience in life.

Sheena Pauley, CFP®, CTFA, Senior Portfolio Manager

  1. Put yourself first & pay yourself first. Max out your retirement from the first day you start working. You will adjust to living on your take-home pay.
  2. Build an emergency fund. Put at least 3 – 6 months of living expenses into a money market account. Emergencies happen, like car repairs, broken appliances, or layoffs, so be prepared.
  3. Build good credit and monitor it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up automatic payments from your checking account to your phone, cable, utilities, or car payments.

Marla Petti, CPA/PFS, AEP®, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor & Team Leader

  1. Get educated. Invest in learning about personal finances so that you have the confidence to be self-sufficient. Women typically outlive men, so they will need to learn at some point. It is best to do it on your own terms rather than being forced into it at an inopportune time.  
  2. Engage a professional who you trust. Take as much time as you need to find the right person who listens, educates, and is committed to being a fiduciary.
  3. Develop an estate plan that helps preserve your legacy – it is a gift to your loved ones!

Please contact us if you have any questions about the advice our advisors provided or if you would like to learn more about working with someone from MAI.

Information updated as of March 21, 2024. Please send your questions, comments, and feedback to: The opinions and analyses expressed herein are subject to change at any time. Any suggestions contained herein are general, and do not take into account an individual’s or entity’s specific circumstances or applicable governing law, which may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and be subject to change. Distribution hereof does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment, or other professional advice. Recipients should consult their professional advisors prior to acting on the information set forth herein. In accordance with certain Treasury Regulations, we inform you that any federal tax conclusions set forth in this communication, were not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

We look forward to learning about your financial goals.