As a woman, I’m proud of the unique gifts and qualities our gender offers. We are diverse, we have strong values, and we are caring. Our aptitude for multi-tasking has served us well in the relatively recent advancement of women in the workforce —juggling parenthood, careers and social activities. Additionally, most women are instinctual caretakers. Not only do many of us value self-care through exercise, quiet time and spirituality, we spend significant time caring for others. While these characteristics can make us strong leaders and valuable employees, unfortunately they also play a role in the already troublesome wage gap between men and women.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, there is a cumulative lifetime earnings gap of $1,055,000 between men and women at retirement based on time taken off in the course of careers. An average woman spends 44 percent of her adult life out of the workforce compared to 28 percent for a man. The time away is primarily due to caretaking — for children, parents and spouses.
Additionally, U.S. women outlive U.S. men by an average of 5 years to the age of 81*. Longer life expectancy means there are more years to fund in retirement, including increased healthcare costs in advanced age. While the average retirement costs $738,000, only 9 percent of American women have $300,000 or more saved for retirement.
It is more important than ever that women stand in their financial power — including being a caretaker for your own money. Here are ways for women (and men) to plan for the future:
- Make longevity an asset – begin retirement planning as early as possible, and keep in mind the increased health costs in advanced age.
- Talk about money – break the taboo of not talking about money by being present and engaged with your financial situation.
- Plan now…and keep planning – planning helps guide decisions and helps you focus on creating wealth to care not only for others, but also for yourself. Continual planning puts you in the power position of dealing with unexpected changes – loss of a loved one, divorce, job transitions and aging needs.
- Identify YOUR money way – through a tribe of friends, a financial advisor, or a class, you can get to know your own numbers and find ways that work for you to create your own financial power.
As always, a trusted financial advisor can help you identify a customized financial solution based on your values, vision and goals. Until next time, I wish you wealth and happiness!
Securities and Advisory Services offered through Harbour Investments, Inc. Member SIPC & FINRA.