retirement

Superwomen Can Only Be Super When We Get the Support We Need

One secret to success that more women (even those with seemingly super powers) should embrace? Delegation! Here are some suggestions for working women on enlisting the help of others across the universe of their lives.

This column is part of a special series Halbert Hargrove produced in honor of March being Women's History Month to highlight women's accomplishments and challenges.

Being a superwoman doesn’t equate to superhuman strength. In whatever roles you play in the workplace and your personal life, feeling buried and stressed is probably all too familiar. We all need to acknowledge when we’re taking on too much — and ask for help when needed.

We women are so capable, and our brains are hard-wired to capably multi-task juggling a multitude of responsibilities. Why not delegate some of those tasks instead of running ourselves into the ground?

Massive strides, but more are required

Today, we’re seeing women in the workplace reaping the benefits fought for by the generations before them. In the U.S., women have already passed men in the likelihood of getting a college degree — including graduate degrees. And we’re increasingly taking on leadership roles in previously male-driven professions like finance, law and medicine.

But there’s still a lot of controversy in our culture about gender inequality, not the least in terms of women’s pay and share of upper-level management positions. And how about our share of drudgery?

One of the clearest indicators of not-yet-vanquished inequality is that women still do the majority of domestic work — cleaning the house, cooking dinner and caring for their kids. Fact: In the U.S., women who work 35 or more hours per week spend on average 4.9 hours per day on unpaid household duties, while their working male counterparts spend an average of 3.8 hours per day. Studies show that this disproportionality not only inhibits women’s employment options, earnings and economic stability, but also impacts their health and happiness.

The key to keeping your sanity and health is enlisting help and building trusted partnerships.

Help in managing your financial life

As a working professional, you’re in the process of perfecting your own craft. Outsourcing to other experts should be a no-brainer.

As a wealth adviser, I daily see the benefits of the planning, investment advice and discipline that pay off for our firm’s clients. So here’s my bias: The first professional you should seek out should be someone to help manage your financial life — maintaining a livable income, saving for retirement, growing your wealth, saving for children’s college. If these represent priorities in your life, you should place these critical responsibilities in the hands of an expert.

A financial partner is not only beneficial in terms of helping you invest and grow your savings, but also in providing advice on the tough decisions. Like when it’s time for your parents to make the move to nursing home or tell your adult children they need to pay their own way. Or when you need to hang in there during difficult market periods. A financial adviser can also recommend other experts who have your best interests at heart.

What do you need, and who can provide it?

A great place to start mastering superwomanhood is making an assessment of your biggest stressors and challenges, and where you stand to benefit most from partnering with others. Here are some suggestions of additional experts and resources you might consider:

  • A therapist. Your mental health is your foundation. This should be step one of asking for help — many times, even before you realize you actually need it.
  • A career or life coach. For help (and an outside perspective) on reaching for goals and keeping yourself accountable to them.
  • A CPA. For many, online tax software has made it easy to file taxes. But there’s still a lot of value and advice a tax professional can provide, especially for those in a unique situation like owning a small business.
  • A specialized attorney. Looking to finalize your will? Hire an expert. Looking to sell or expand your small business? Make sure to connect with a business attorney.
  • Mortgage brokers and real estate agents. Buying or selling a home is a huge financial move. You should rely on the expertise of professionals.
  • A personal trainer or health coach. For all those reasons you already know.
  • Home help. Last but not least, ask for home help! Hire a nanny, a professional cleaner, a home organizer or declutterer and/or a dog walker. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your significant other — they signed up to share this life with you, make them earn it!

Remember, you may be successful, but you’re not a lone warrior. Perpetual displays of superhuman strength and abilities exist only in comic books and movies.

About the Author

Julia Pham, CFP®, AIF®, CDFA®

Wealth Adviser, Halbert Hargrove

Julia Pham joined Halbert Hargrove as a Wealth Adviser in 2015. Her role includes encouraging HH clients to explore and fine-tune their aspirations — and working with them to create a road map to attain the goals that matter to them. Julia has worked in financial services since 2007. Julia earned a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in Economics and Sociology, and an MBA, both from the University of California at Irvine.

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