Women have unique challenges when it comes to finances. For most women, taking control of their financial future is particularly important due to some realities that can’t be ignored. Here are some of the reasons this is so crucial.

  1. The earnings gap. Men tend to earn more than women. Salary information website Payscale.com wrapped up a 2-year survey on this topic in 2019, culling responses from 1.8 million U.S. workers. It found that today, women make an average of $0.79 for every $1 that men make. 1  The implication here is that the average male worker has the chance to contribute more money to a company retirement plan – and consequently, may have a better chance at drawing a larger employer match.
  2. Time out of the workforce. If a woman leaves the workplace for a long interval, her retirement account still has a chance to compound with time, but her steady salary deferrals cease. (Social Security earnings are also impacted.) This cuts into her lifetime retirement savings potential. Caregiving is sometimes a reason for such extended absences, and a 2019 University of Massachusetts whitepaper on this subject concluded that time out for caregiving widens the retirement savings gap between men and women by more than 10%. 2 
  3. The possibility of a lifestyle “downgrade” after a divorce. Many women find that a “fair and equal” divorce settlement is not equitable, particularly when the salary of a higher-earning spouse is gone. This dilemma is notable among male-female couples divorcing after age 50. As Bloomberg notes, new research from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University finds that a woman’s standard of living declines by an average of 45% in such instances. Women need to walk away from a divorce with more than an “equal” settlement; they need a long-run investing and financial strategy. 3
  4. The probability of living into your eighties. Women still live longer than men, on average. The Social Security Administration says that today’s 65-year-old woman will live another 20 years, on average; the SSA also says that about a third of today’s 65-year-old women will live into their nineties. For many late-career women, a 30-year retirement could be a reality. 4 

How do you prepare for these potential challenges and pursue your goals? It starts with saving and investing actively. Take charge of your money and invest and save in a way that makes attaining those goals possible. Be the decisionmaker you want and need to be, with a positive perspective and the knowledge to make informed choices.

The best antidote to worrying about the future is preparing for it. Investing with the goal to build wealth is a great move.

How about you? Do you feel financially prepared for the future? Get in touch if you could use some expert guidance with reaching your financial goals. I look forward to talking with you about saving, investing, and your vision of your future.

1 – payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap [9/3/19]; 2 – peri.umass.edu/component/k2/item/1187-unpaid-family-caregiving-and-retirement-savings [7/1/19]; 3 – bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-19/divorce-destroys-finances-of-americans-over-50-studies-show [7/19/19]; 4 – ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html [9/3/19]

After a successful career in high-tech, Sheila McGinn, CFP® followed her passion and became a fee-only Financial Planner, where she helps clients navigate complex financial decisions and reach their financial goals.

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