WOMEN need to think harder about their financial future. That is the message from financial adviser Ms Samantha Marmara. ''Women tend to be intimidated by the male dominated financial world,'' said Ms Marmara, private client department manager at Thomas Spencer and Associates. As a result, she suggests, many remain ignorant of how their finances are being run. ''Women have to ensure they are involved,'' she said. ''If they don't put forward their perspectives, how on earth are they ever going to know?'' To answer this perceived need, Thomas Spencer is devising financial planning strategies for women. ''We felt that no one was focusing on financial planning for women,'' Ms Marmara said. ''It's important especially as women become more career-oriented and more independent.'' She pointed to a number of things women needed to consider, the first being career breaks. ''It's often a question of maximising your short-term earnings,'' Ms Marmara said, suggesting those investors planning on taking a career break should try to avoid plans with encashment penalties. ''They may want to look at something more secure and less volatile.'' One suggested structure would be to diversify the risk so that 50 per cent was in low-risk options, 30 per cent in medium and 20 per cent in high. But Ms Marmara stressed strategies should vary depending on the individual's needs or her tolerance of risk. Because women tend to be the more mobile when it comes to careers, they also may want to consider adapting their pension fund plans accordingly. ''Women tend to follow their husband's career and so they end up changing their jobs more often,'' she said. ''They may want to consider a portable pension plan for example.'' Such schemes should be employer-sponsored and recognised by the government tax authorities as pension plans, she said. The company is also striving to raise women's awareness of the need to make provisions for death or divorce. Women tend to outlive men and when their spouse dies they may find they do not understand their husband's will and are not informed about managing their own monetary affairs. ''There have been horrendous stories in Britain where businessmen have committed suicide and the wife didn't understand their financial affairs,'' she said. ''If a woman does not know what investments she has, she has to suddenly educate herself or find someone else to carry out the function.'' Likewise, women should ensure they have an understanding of their assets in the unfortunate event of a divorce. ''Worldwide, divorce rates are on the increase,'' Ms Marmara said. To introduce the idea of financial planning for women, Thomas Spencer and Associates is holding lunch seminars to discuss these issues.