December 2, 2016

WTOP Interview: Women's Financial Success—Breaking Down Barriers

With skyrocketing healthcare costs, it's wise to consider how to get your money's worth from your healthcare plan.
Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

Listen to Dawn Doebler's WTOP interview: Women's Financial Success and Breaking Down the Barriers


Hillary Howard: Joining us to do that Dawn Doebler; cofounder of Her Wealth™ and Senior Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, Maryland. Dawn, thank you so much for being here.

Dawn Doebler: Thank you for having me, it's very exciting to be here.

Hillary Howard: Well! This is an exciting and important topic. You're working to change the way women think about their money to be fully engaged in their financial lives. What's the biggest barrier; how tough is it for women to be financially intelligent?

Dawn Doebler: Well, we have several barriers that we see and they really are common patterns that we see in women that come into our office, one of the biggest ones is that our industry is still very dominated by men. So, we end up seeing that the industry is a lot of men speaking to men and we believe that they contribute to women feeling uncomfortable. That's part of the Her Wealth initiative—to help women to feel comfortable to ask the questions they should be asking and to engage in the conversation.

Shawn Anderson: Well, money is often a taboo topic; few people really do discuss it openly. How do you get folks to open, how do you get women to open up?

Dawn Doebler: We do encourage the conversation and the best thing is to start asking questions; what’s keeping you up at night, have the conversation with your spouse or your partner about the things that are concerning you, and most importantly, ask the questions, ''How much money do we have''? “What’s our tax situation?” “Why are we investing the way we are, and who can we ask questions to if we have questions that are burning questions for us?”

Hillary Howard: When it comes to women, it’s not one particular age group that handles this more poorly than the other; it seems to work across all lines, all ages. Is it the same way with men?

Dawn Doebler: No. I think in general women are kind of cultured not to be involved in the conversation. It’s a little lesser with the younger generations which we definitely see Millennials, who are engaging in the conversation more. Although it still seems to be the case that many women leave the conversation about money and the responsibility about money to men—whether it’s their spouse or it's their father or their older brother—and it does tend to be across all age groups like you said. I do think that women in the kind of 40-to-60-year-old range tend to be in a really interesting position, they've been cultured to not talk about money. They've been cultured to leave that to someone else in the family and yet they’re living lives where they really need to be responsible and they are taking control of the finances out of necessity.

Divorce is 50% and many women are widowed, there’s an interesting kind of statistic that we use—it's called 75-75 which is that 75% of women will be single by the age of 75. So whether they like it or not, women will, at some point in their life, be responsible and likely solely responsible for their financial decisions.

Shawn Anderson: We only have 30 more seconds, any final thoughts for us?

Dawn Doebler: I think just; we ask women to go to our website. We're trying to provide as much information as we can, it is Go to the Her Wealth tab, there are downloadable guides there for you—pre-retirement, post-divorce. A lot of information there, you don’t need to provide your name or anything. It’s important that you start asking questions and getting educated and engage in the conversation.

Hillary Howard: Great Dawn. Thanks so much for being with us. That’s Dawn Doebler with Bridgewater Wealth.


Shawn: Now you hear all kinds of deals about leasing cars, how can you negotiate a better deal if you want to lease?

Nina: Okay, well many people don't realize that they can actually negotiate the sticker price on a leased car in the same way that you would do that if you're buying a car. And since when you lease -- when you're, you know, your lease payments basically cover the depreciation, the difference between the sales price and the residual value. So it's definitely in your best interest to try to reduce that sales price as much as possible because then you'll pay you know, smaller dollars over the life of the lease. Make sure you pay attention to the down payment at the lease signing. And so here's an example, you might see an ad that says you know, lease payment is only 1.99 a month and that sounds like a great deal for thirty six months. The catch is, is that it might require a $3,600 down payment. So, if you amortize the down payment, then actually that 1.99 special, becomes 2.99. So, you really have to kind of look at total costs. 

And then lastly, dealerships use the term, money or lease factor, when they're calculating your financing costs and a lease factor is not the same as an interest rate. So, you have to make sure the dealer converts that lease factor into a comparable interest rate so you know what your financing charges are. 

Shawn: At the end of the day, does one method wind up being more expensive more often than the other, or can we tell that?

Nina: You know what, it really depends on how long, if you're going to hold the car for a long time, you're better off buying. But if you know, and if you're not, if you just really enjoy driving and you want to have a new car, then go ahead and lease. I mean, there's pros and cons to both, to be honest with you, it's not one size fits all.

Shawn: Alright Nina, great. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Alright, Nina Mitchell is with The Colony Group, for more go to and search Her Wealth.

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Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

Dawn’s experience spans more that 25 years providing wealth management, financial planning and corporate finance solutions for clients. As an MBA, CPA, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), she is uniquely qualified to understand the challenges and financial needs of clients from executives to entrepreneurs, as well as single breadwinner parents. Dawn is a weekly contributor to WTOP radio.