Posted on April 2, 2014 by NJFCU

Women on the Rise


Ask Lourdes

By Lourdes Cortez

Women all over the nation have been more frequently labeled the primary breadwinner in their household.  According to an article published in the New York Times in May 2013, 4 in 10 American households with children under the age of 18 include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner in her family. Additionally, USA Today presented an article on March 9, 2014 entitled “Women are mostly better investors than men.”  The article cited how women view investing and one of the repetitive themes was that women tend to take their time when thinking about where to invest their hard earned money.

Given this trend and since it is women’s history month, let’s discuss women and investing.

First, don’t think of investing as a vice or a responsibility you are obligated to do (even though it is). Think of investing as making your money work for you.  Too many people open up savings accounts, which are great, but then they hold their money captive in these accounts instead of setting aside a small portion for investing.

Second, don’t make investments, and then abandon it. Monitor it, nurture it and be excited about it! Set personal goals as a way to motivate yourself by committing to an investment strategy. 

Third, investing your money is like a relationship.  If you don’t commit to the investment, you will probably not generate what you want. Setting aside the money you might want to spend on treating yourself to a nice dinner or a pair of shoes may sound more exciting than investing, but what if your investment generates something in the range of $300,000 or more over the course of 20 years? You’ve just created a successful retirement fund.

Fourth, use a professional financial advisor and don’t worry about whether you make enough to interest them.  A professional advisor will commit to helping you plan your investment strategy based upon what you want to do. Fortunately for us, according to a USA Today’s article “Women are mostly better investors than men”, women are 44% more likely to get the advice from a professional financial advisor and there is nothing wrong with that!

Fifth, during the time of your investment, you may have to make adjustments depending on your financial state, age, and goals.  It’s a good idea to regularly check in with your advisor to help you plan and make adjustments.  You and she/he can decide how often you should review your investment portfolio.

Finally, if you are still skeptical about investing, try using a Certificate of Deposit (CD) before getting into the stocks and bonds area of investing, which can be slightly more complicated. A Certificate of Deposit is a safe way to invest your money because once you deposit the money; you are required to leave it there for the term of the CD. If you try to withdraw it early, you will have to pay an early withdrawal fee.

If you are the breadwinner in your household, your family is counting on you to make smart financial decisions for them, both short term and long term. In honor of Women’s History Month, I want to encourage all women to be proactive and confident when dealing with money and family matters.

Lourdes Cortez, President and CEO of North Jersey Federal Credit Union, hails from Paterson, New Jersey and is the first Latina CEO of a credit union in New Jersey.  In 1984, she began her career at North Jersey Federal and served in several C-level roles before being promoted to her current position in 2005.  In 2004, she was promoted to Vice President of Operations and soon thereafter became Senior Vice President. Lourdes was named the President and CEO of North Jersey Federal in 2005.

In February 2014, Lourdes was appointed to the Board of Trustees for William Paterson University located in Wayne, New Jersey.

In addition, Lourdes was honored, by the Girl Scouts, as a Woman of Achievement during its Centennial Celebration in April 2012.  In 2010, she was named the Star Award recipient by North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce and was honored by NJ Biz as one of the Best 50 Women in Business