As a woman, I know how easy it is to put someone else’s needs ahead of my own. I think many women do it automatically when we have young kids at home, but it’s a pattern that often extends into the empty nest phase and even later years.
There’s always an excuse. Maybe we’re too busy at work. Or it’s hard to get in to see the doctor due to COVID restrictions.
But this fall season, I’ve made a point of getting those routine physicals and appointments back on my calendar, and am checking them off one by one. I’ve actually found that I’m getting in and out of the doctor’s office faster than ever, as they’ve got the COVID routines down to a science now and are handling patients very efficiently (I haven’t had a telemedicine visit yet).
I’m a financial, not a medical, practitioner. My job is to take care of my clients’ financial wellness. But there are many parallels between the two disciplines, so I would like to share a few observations picked up over the years that are especially directed toward my women clients and colleagues.
Don’t procrastinate. Your health is always a priority. Never postpone scheduling that check-up. Please take a moment to read the recent Wall Street Journal article discussing how COVID has led many people to delay routine screenings and medical visits at their peril. It is “must” reading. If you’re off track with routine appointments, as I was, get them scheduled and done, and then enjoy enormous peace of mind knowing you’re all caught up.
If it’s important, put it on the schedule. My mom had breast cancer, so I’ve never missed my fall mammogram appointment. I’ve also scheduled dental appointments like clockwork. How is it these two appointments stay on track? Simple. They schedule the follow-up appointment while I’m checking out. If it needs to be done, get it on the schedule right away before you get too busy or forget. In the financial world, the clients we can help the most are those who take the process seriously, devote the time needed, and return information promptly.
Be frank with your professional advisors. I’ve learned this doing my own job. The more you open up with me about your financial fears and concerns, the better I can help you craft a customized plan to reach your goals. Clients share extremely personal information with me at times so I can understand what they are going through and help them navigate toward their goals. I try to do the same when I’m talking with my own medical advisors so we can build a solid dialogue.
Find someone who gets you. Years ago I saw a general practitioner (a male) who didn’t understand why I couldn’t go out and exercise before taking my kids to school. Since they were too young to be left home alone, and just getting them ready and to school on time required waking up at an already uncivilized hour, I couldn’t understand how he could be so clueless regarding the time constraints affecting single moms. Now I have a wonderful new GP (another guy) who totally gets where I’m coming from. What a wonderful difference. Whether tending to your health or finances, your ideal advisor should be someone you have a good rapport with, who understands you and how you live. I often like to work with other women professionals, but gender matters less than sharing an open mind and productive dialogue.
Read the Wall Street Journal article here: “Covid-19 Outbreaks Led to Dangerous Delay in Cancer Diagnoses“