What secrets are hiding in your closet? No, we’re not talking about hideous fashion crimes, nor the photographic evidence of the time you got your hair cut just like Rachel on Friends. We are here to help you take a look at what’s inside your financial closet (insert screams of panic here).If you’ve ever seen Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, then you know the process we are talking about. Tim, the Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. (NYSE:LIZ) and design mentor on Project Runway, bravely steps into the wardrobes of real-life women on his namesake TV show, ruthlessly sheds all unnecessary and ill-fitting items, then sends each subject on a shopping spree for ten essential items of clothing. With a little help from the dapper gentleman himself, the women return with the kind of classic staples they can rely on to make their entire wardrobe work: a white button-down shirt, that go-with-everything blazer, a timeless cashmere sweater, a classic pair of dress pants…and so on. It got us thinking of a certain financial spin to Tim’s essential list. (Are you ready for your reveal?)Finances that fitOne of the most common problems Tim finds in women’s closets is a pile of clothes that don’t fit. They were either purchased in the wrong size or have mysteriously shrunk since last worn. Tim’s advice is this: “If going up a size means a full day of breathing easily, so be it.” “A woman who is at ease in her clothing is much more beautiful than one who is too constrained to draw a breath.” Similarly, how many of us have our money invested in funds or products that don’t fit the needs of our current lives? That super-aggressive emerging markets mutual fund you bought into during your 20s may have served you well when retirement was a far-off dream, but now that the gold watch is in sight, perhaps it’s time to switch to a more balanced portfolio mix that will ensure the funds will be there when you need them.Investment piecesUnder Tim’s tutelage, women learn to choose quality over quantity and end up with a wardrobe of ‘investment pieces’ that will last for many years regardless of fashion trends. Imagine no more stressing about what to wear every day, no more digging through piles of jeans to find the one pair that fits. This is the goal we have for your financial wardrobe as well: a streamlined, organized system that contains everything you need for long-term financial security and stability. Imagine no more messing around trying to find T4 slips!So what are the ten ‘golden’ essentials that every woman should have in her financial wardrobe, regardless of her age? Here we go…1. Emergency fund – We’ll compare your emergency fund to that ‘comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit’ recommended Mr. Gunn (yes, sweatsuits are a no-no, but sometimes you just need some back-up clothes). As our vacuum cleaner likes to remind us, life is messy. Stuff happens. A blown tire, a root canal or heaven forbid, a messy breakup is not just painful, it could knock you out financially. Make a habit of taking 10% off the top of every paycheque and stashing the money in a savings fund solely for serious crises. 2. Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) – Use this for your emergency savings or to save up for a house, but whatever you do, make sure you use it. You can invest up to $5,000 a year and any returns or interest you earn is gloriously tax-free. Makes saving more fun, no?3. Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) – Ah, the classic trench of your financial wardrobe. We need to give you the objective truth here: no one else is going to save for your retirement. If you want to make that dream of wearing caftans to lunch in Palm Beach a reality, you’ve got to put (another) 10% of every paycheque into an RRSP account.4. Net worth statement – You can’t fix what you don’t know! Calculating your net worth cuts through the little lies you tell yourself and lays bare the truth about your financial situation. It’s as easy as subtracting your liabilities from your assets – and slowly working to improve this number.5. Financial plan – Like the go-with-everything blazer, think of this as the piece that ties it all together. From a financial perspective, we know you have goals, but have you written them down? Do you have a plan for achieving those goals (and a financial advisor to help you devise that plan)? Does your daily spending match up with your monthly income and your annual strategy? Are you saving as much as you need? You can do this; you need to do this. 6. Will and estate plan – If you love your loved ones, you will have a plan in place that outlines where and how your debts will be covered and your assets will be distributed should you pass away. You don’t want to leave a mess behind for your family members and the courts to figure out, do you? Aim for a graceful exit - with a little professional help from a wills and estate lawyer.7. Life Insurance – So how will your debts and expenses be covered anyway? You need to make sure you have enough life insurance to cover your liabilities and lost income in the event of your death. If you have kids, make sure both parents are insured.8. Critical illness insurance – Life insurance will cover you if you get sick and die, but what if you get sick and live? Or you have a long sickness and cannot earn an income? This is especially important for single people and those reliant on only one source of income. You need back-up, baby.9. Tax-deductible fees – Of course, you have your taxes in order and your annual filings and assessments all neatly organized in sequential folders. But are you making all the claims you can? Many people don’t realize that some fees for advice or management of your investments are tax-deductible. 10. A team of experts – You’ve got your colourist, your manicurist, your drycleaner, your masseuse and your astrologer. You’re set, right? Wrong. You need to bring on experts to advise you on your investments, your financial plan, your taxes, your legal affairs and your insurance. It takes a village, darling.Own it, sisterAs Tim Gunn contends, when you own your look, you navigate the world with great confidence. But might we expand upon this idea...Just imagine how much more confident your strut will be once you take ownership of your finances. Indeed, these 10 financial wardrobe essentials will have you ready to rock the catwalk – at any age!