Financial Planner Paula Swain Helps Women Find Security in Retirement


If there is one thing these last two years have taught us, it’s that no one knows what the future holds – especially when it comes to jobs, money and economic security. Helping people, especially women, plan ahead and gain the tools they need to weather life’s uncertainties is what drives financial planner Paula Swain and what led to the creation of her Financial Center for Women.

“Ideas pop into your head and you either run with them or you don’t,” Swain says. The idea for the Financial Center for Women came to Swain during the early years of her career but “it wasn’t the right time, but the idea never left me.” The Covid lockdown and in the midst of a difficult divorce from her husband of many years, all the pieces fell into place, and she opened the center.

Swain is committed to helping women plan for their future especially following life’s most unexpected turns such as the death of a spouse or a divorce. A retirement specialist, she specializes in retirement income strategies and distribution planning, helping her clients preserve their capital and provide income for the rest of their lives.

Swain has been selected as a Five Star Wealth Manager for the past six years and is known for her commitment to personalized support, rigorous ethical standards and a desire to help her clients not just succeed but thrive.

“I want women to feel like this is a place where she’ll be taken care of, feel safe and can have any question answered,” she said.

Financial security can be a difficult thing for women on her own to achieve, owing to a number of factors including making less money, caring for ill parents, the career costs of time away to raise children, and a lack of financial education. That lack of financial education affects men and women but because of the other factors that tend to hold women back, it becomes even more detrimental. Because of the reasons above Swain says, “Women should be saving 20 percent of their income.”

As difficult as it can be to put that much money away every month, Swain says it often comes down to priorities. “I knew a couple who made $70,000 annually and they saved a million dollars and put two kids through college. It comes down to choosing what’s most important.”

Having a nest egg and a cushion to fall back on is again even more important for a single individual who may not have that extra income or social security check to mitigate expenses later on. “People want to feel secure, especially single women – they don’t want to be a burden on their kids and if they don’t have kids, they are worried about who will take care of them as they get older.”

“Everyone should be taking classes and talking about money, starting at age 10,” Swain says. Learning to save, for example, is of paramount important. The younger a person is when they start saving, the more they will amass and the more opportunity for growth.

When a prospective client contacts the Financial Center for Women, Swain will spend time getting to know the individual. “I want to learn their goals and dreams, what keeps them up at night,” she says. “Then we look at their numbers and documents, and we can see where they stand. Ultimately, the goal is for everything to align and we can devise a plan.”

Part of that plan can include guidance and support on achieving the end goals. Swain will remind her clients that they need to learn to live on a budget. For example, she advises not to use credit cards to carry debt. “Use them for points but then pay them off at the end of the month,” she says. “If you can’t afford something, then don’t buy it. It’s important to live within your means.”

That means budgeting your savings as well. “Figure out how to put away money for yourself,” she advises. “I know women who make $40,000 a year and can go on trips – it’s because they made it a priority and saved.”

It is important to discuss with your financial planner the best way to protect your assets and ensure they go to the family members or loved ones of their choice. “If all of your assets are held with a beneficiary or beneficiaries, then you may not need a trust. But at a minimum you need a will, power of attorney for financial and health matters” to ensure there is a support system in place if needed.

Ultimately, Swain’s goal is for the Financial Center for Women to become a one-stop shop for well-planned financial future, where women can find answers, support and the kind of kinship that comes from shared experience. From personal experience, Swain knows what it’s like to not just endure the unexpected but to grow and thrive through hardship. Now, she wants to share those tools with other women and prepare them for the twists and turns that lie ahead.

She adds, “Planning ahead gives you control – and that’s what we all want, isn’t it?”

Securities offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker dealer