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It’s Women’s History Month! Let’s go over why financial planning is important for women.

While there’s little doubt women have taken major strides professionally and socially over even the past few years, it’s still all too common for them to be left out of the financial discussion. Whether that happens on their own accord or because they simply become an afterthought in the conversation, their exclusion can be extremely damaging not just to their own future but to both members of a couple or an entire family. Well, this month is Women’s History Month, so while there is never a bad time to celebrate the women who mean so much to us, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss their role in financial planning and its importance. Let’s go over five reasons why financial planning is crucial for women.

  1. It Can be Empowering

Whether a woman is a working professional, a stay-at-home parent, a single individual or a retiree, her role goes far beyond the simple financial aspect of the planning process. It should also be uplifting and empowering, giving you a sense of purpose when it comes to both your money and your dreams. It can also build confidence when you truly understand the systems our society is built around, and being financially literate has the potential to make anyone feel like their goals are achievable and they can find the right path, no matter what the future holds.

It’s also about equality. While money isn’t everything, there’s no denying its power and ability to dictate a person’s ability to live a comfortable lifestyle. As an equal partner in a couple, or even as an individual, understanding financial concepts and knowing you have an easy-to-follow roadmap toward your goals can be motivating and inspiring.

  1. Women Live Longer Than Men

According to the CDC, the average life expectancy for women is 79 years, while it’s just 73 for men [1]. While this might not sound drastic, that six-year period can feel like an eternity for those who face any sort of financial struggles. That means on average, women must strategize for six more years of living expenses. While it might be true that if your spouse passes away first you may only have to cover yourself when it comes to costs like medical bills, food, everyday living and more, it’s important to remember new obstacles that potentially come into play. A mortgage payment, for example, might remain the same, while only one person’s retirement money might be coming in.

That’s why planning for adequate retirement income is critical for women. For instance, some pensions are only paid to one spouse. And while you might inherit retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs, you will only receive one Social Security payment going forward if your spouse passes away before you. While it will be the larger of the two checks, it is still necessary to have a plan if your income were to decline.

Additionally, longer lifespans, especially after the loss of a partner, can potentially lead to the need for long-term care, which is extremely pricey and not covered by Medicare.

  1. Women Make Less on Average

In addition to longer lifespans, women tend to earn less than men for a multitude of reasons. In fact, a study from the Pew Research Center showed women earn, on average, 82% of what men earn, which is not much better than the 80% they earned more than 20 years ago [2]. This is true despite social advancements that have led to more women in power as well as further discussion about the gap. Of course, there are many theories about why that gap exists. For example, some women work in different industries offering lower average wages and fewer benefits.

Still, however, even choosing a different career path cannot always help, especially when pay is oftentimes determined by experience or hours worked. The obligation of caretaking, especially for children, typically falls on women, meaning they are sometimes forced to exit the workforce and forgo work experience and potential advancement. Lower wages also mean they oftentimes have less to put away for a retirement that is already longer than the average man’s, and those lower wages might also equate to lower Social Security or pension payments. Simply put, women face more obstacles, possibly further necessitating a proper financial and retirement plan.

  1. Women Are Often Responsible for Loved Ones

As previously mentioned, women are often saddled with the responsibility of exiting the workforce to raise and provide for children, forcing them to forgo opportunities to gain experience and earn more money. Additionally, they may be forced to tap into savings, income from part-time roles or shared income with their spouse to ensure the house is properly run – a full-time job in and of itself. Again, that can leave less money for a woman to contribute to savings and investment vehicles for retirement.

Additionally, caregiving responsibilities do not always end with children. Many women between the ages of 40 and 60, which is often a high-earning period used to sock away funds as you approach retirement, are part of what’s being referred to as the “Sandwich Generation.” In this sandwich, children are one slice of bread while elderly parents are the other, forcing women to be the meat, veggies and condiments between the two to financially support both parties. Furthermore, women make up 60% of the Sandwich Generation, and they spend, on average, 45 minutes per day more than men caring for children and parents [3]. That obligation can make it even more difficult to save for retirement, whether it’s because they’re forced to step away from work or they’re using more of their funds to provide for dependents.

  1. Women Are Set to Inherit the Majority of the Wealth in the US

Presently, women control about a third of this country’s wealth, but we are heading toward a major change in financial power. In one of the biggest transitions of wealth in American history, women are set to inherit the better part of $68 trillion [4]. This should give some women a significant advantage in their own retirement plans.

But with a great inheritance comes great responsibility. Without a proper plan or a firm direction for those trillions of dollars, it can be moot. That’s why it’s crucial for women to take an active role in financial planning now. They shouldn’t wait until they actually inherit the money; they should be working with those they might inherit that money from, as well as a financial professional, to gain the right tools and knowledge to purpose that influx of cash for a long, successful retirement.

If you’re ready to become more involved in the financial planning process, please give us a call today! You can reach Global View Capital Advisors – Pleasant Grove at (801) 770-1290.