Women: Wield Your Financial Power

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By Diane Gallagher - March 27, 2019

Nine in ten women will be solely responsible for their own or their family's finances at some point.* Women, now's the time to exercise the power you have over money and apply it to your financial future. Men, share these points with the women in your life.

Positive Strides and Gaining

During Women's National History Month, it's good to remember that women have made some positive advances regarding finances, such as:

Icon of scale. 45 percent of U.S. millionaires are women.
Icon of a trophy. 40 percent of women are their family's main breadwinner.

1 Wells Fargo Investment Institute , 2016.
2 The Boston Consulting Group, New Strategies for Nontraditional Client Segments, 2016.
3 The American College of Financial Services, Women's Research Reveals Financial Risk and Unmet Opportunities, 2016.

But Challenges Still Exist

Despite making headway over the past several years, women continue to face gender pay gaps  that can affect our financial futures.

  • Women earn 78 cents for every $1 earned by men
  • And are less likely to hold high level or high paying jobs versus men

That means that women's earning potential is or has been limited, and they may be missing out on key earning opportunities. While those are systemic employment obstacles, knowing they exist is part of the battle.

That's also why it's important for women to have a solid savings plan, especially for retirement. No one wants to look back with regret. And the best way to avoid that regret is to plan ahead. As you start to plan, or refine your plan, keep the following considerations in mind.

Live, Love, Laugh Longer

Average life expectancy for women is 81.2 years. If you're coupled up, women statistically live longer than men (the average U.S. male life expectancy is 76.3). While time is a gift, it's important to understand it will also cost more to live longer.

The time to get involved in planning is now, especially if a spouse has been primarily responsible for the investments and financial plan, or if you've been putting off creating your own plan. Two important things to figure out now: 1. How do you want to live in retirement? And 2. How will you pay for it?  The basis of your plan is as simple as thinking through the answers to these questions.

Mind Your Money

Some women may find they can pay for their futures with an inheritance. The financial industry is predicting a great wealth transfer—some $30 trillion—over the next few decades and many women will likely inherit the bulk of it from spouses or aging parents.

However, inheriting money can bring challenges too. Regardless of the amount you may receive, you still need to preserve and hopefully grow it. Unfortunately, only 22 percent of women have a wealth management plan in place.

Solve for the Sandwich

As members of the sandwich generation —people responsible for caring for children and aging parents—women are most in the middle. One in eight women ages 40 to 60 are caring for at least one aging parent in addition to their own children. And women account for about two out of three caregivers for seniors.

Even if money isn't an issue now, it could become one further down the road if you're spending resources in the present. How can you prepare for your own future in the midst of other obligations? The key is proper retirement and estate planning.

Take Control Now

Women take care of budgets, bills and drive 70 to 80 percent  of buying decisions. Apply those same strengths to your financial future. No matter where you are in life, the best time to use your financial power is now.

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* Five Reasons Women Are Taking the Lead In Financial Planning, Forbes, August 2017.

Diane Gallagher
Diane Gallagher

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