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Common Financial Impacts Facing Women
Karalyn Carlton February 2020
Statistics show that women at retirement often have less saved then men. Not by a little, but by a large margin.
With more understanding, and perhaps some guidance, here are some tools for a greater chance of success.
It’s never too early to begin financial conversations. People can be deeply influenced by how their families talk—or don’t talk—about money as they grow up. Whether financial decisions are met with stress, silence, anger or ease, can make for life-long patterns. The more conversations around money and financial decisions within the home, the more comfortable people are with the subject of money management.
Equally important is that many families don’t talk about money in a healthy way and most schools don’t offer this education. So why is it that people feel they should “just know these things?” How would they? They will with more sound information and people to talk to.
Women Participate Less in Employer Retirement Plans than Men
Women often take time off in their careers to have a family early on, but also to take care of family members later in life. This comes with financial sacrifice, often leaving women out of the workforce for a decade or more.
In a Washington Post article, writer Ylan Q. Mui summed it up this way: “Mothers tend to be more productive both before and long after the birth of their children. When that work is smoothed out over the course of a career, the (Federal Reserve) paper found, they are more productive on average than their peers.”
Retirement planning should continue during this time, such as starting a spousal IRA, setting up automatic monthly contributions and keeping career skills current and networks.
Women Find Challenges When Re-entering the Workforce
Return to Work Syndrome is a culmination of the fear, worry, shame, confidence loss and trepidation women experience when returning to work after a prolonged absence. While this most commonly refers to childbirth and motherhood, it can also apply to job loss, chronic illness, family medical leave, active duty service, extended bereavement or a change of personal or professional direction. (tlint.com July 26, 2018 Tracy Saunders)
To minimize these challenges, consider the following: effective networking, sharp resume presentation, preparedness for interviewing and, most of all, demonstrating confidence and competence when presented with opportunities to break through a personal glass ceiling.
Consider hiring a coach to help you negotiate salary. Research shows that salary transparency can help narrow the pay gap. However, it is tricky, isn’t it? I’d highly recommend listening to the Women at Work podcast on the Harvard Business Review site called “Let’s Talk About Money.” Guests explore the complexities of talking about their salaries.
The Single Life
Each one of these topics are complex, and for those ready to delve in, there are countless books, podcasts and studies on each of the topics. Some favorite studies and resources on women and retirement planning are:
Steps for Women to Improve Their Retirement Outlook
The following is an excerpt from Transamerica’s Influences of Gender on Retirement Readiness white paper
The good news is that small steps can lead to great strides in retirement preparedness. Retirement will be unique for each woman, but the tools to help achieve retirement readiness are common to all. No matter your age, now is the time for all woman to focus on achieving a financially secure retirement.
Here are some ideas:
Over the years I’ve offered classes on financial planning topics and have met with family members and friends of my clients to provide information and ideas based upon their individual scenario. If you have any questions or would like to talk more in detail about any of these subjects, please contact me.