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For women, learning to overcome the fear of finance

LAKEVILLE, CONN. — In life, it’s often those of us who most need instruction who are least likely to seek it. Salisbury Bank and Trust is hosting a series of seminars on finance for women this month. But this topic is so intimidating to so many women that there is a chance that those who would benefit from it the most won’t sign up.The seminar will be led by three women: Diane Johnstone and Meredith Tiedemann from the bank and Kimberly Welch, a financial consultant for AXA Advisors.Welch often works with women to help manage their money. “I find that women often feel that they don’t deserve to have their own financial professional,” she said. “Yet they are probably making many, if not all, of the important financial decisions for their families.”It might be that men are traditionally more able to separate out the emotions from the hard numbers. Welch finds that for many of her female clients, investing is as much an emotional journey as it is a matter of dollars and cents. “Recently a client and I were exchanging information about setting up a meeting,” she said. “I was deeply touched by her honesty as she shared her financial concerns and personal issues with me. Earning and respecting this trust is fundamental.”For some women, it’s a revelation that it’s even OK to talk about finance in terms of fear — and to look at planning as a way to manage those fears.“We live in uncertain times, and uncertainty breeds anxiety, which can lead to no decision making or poor decisions,” Welch said. “At a recent meeting with a group of women, I asked ‘Who here wakes up at night worrying about your financial future?’ Every hand went up. It’s hard to admit we don’t have all the answers; that’s why it’s important to be informed and to work with a financial professional that you trust.“I think anxiety is reduced when a woman feels that she can work together with a trusted professional to identify financial goals and develop a plan for reaching them. We all need a plan. It’s important to me that my clients believe that I care about helping them and that I will be there to implement the plan we agree on.” The seminar at Salisbury Bank is based on a program for women developed at AXA “that examines common financial misbeliefs many women hold and presents ideas for addressing the issues in a straight forward manner,” she said. “I’ve found that this program creates a more comfortable environment for women to ask questions and discuss options.”Seating is limited at the seminar, which will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m. in the bank’s Lakeville office at 5 Bissell St. There is no charge to participate. To sign up, go online to www.salisburybank.com. An additional session might be added if there is an overflow of requests.

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