You might think that financial planning is a fairly black and white topic. It may change based on your age or stage of career but it’s pretty standard across the board, right? And gender certainly doesn’t change the planning process at all, right? What works for a man will probably work for a woman too. Well….. it turns out that’s not always the case.
Let’s be honest – for women, our lives and our careers tend to look a little different than men’s. These key differences impact the financial planning process more than you might think. Let’s look a little closer.
Women live longer than men
This isn’t an opinion, this is actually a fact. A recent study from Harvard says that the average lifespan for women is about 5 years longer than that of men in the U.S. What does that tell us? Well one of the most common questions we get from people nearing retirement is – “do I have enough money to retire”. We often have to answer this question like a good lawyer, because “it depends”. If women are expected to live longer, then planning for retirement looks different. Planning for healthcare costs looks different. It’s important to keep this in mind as we plan for managing our income in retirement and making sure that our money lasts.
Women make less than men
It’s no secret that there is a gender wage gap. This gap creates an obvious element to the financial planning picture for women. If we make less, we obviously need to plan differently. So how do we combat this? It turns out that the wage gap isn’t always the biggest problem – for many women they are just not as confident when it comes to managing money. We should be encouraging fellow women to take control of their financial education. Set your family budget. Consider setting savings goals. Look to take advantage of your employer sponsored retirement plan – there is a good chance that the plan offers educational opportunities to not only help you save for retirement but also to improve your overall financial wellness and literacy.
It can be very challenging to care for an ill or disabled loved one and this responsibility often falls on us as women. This can not only impact our finances but also our overall mental health. It impacts our savings, retirement, and also our stress. Talking about long-term care planning is normally not a priority in most families. Talking about this before it becomes an urgent situation can have a significant financial impact. It gives you time to plan and prepare (always a good idea when it comes to finances).
What about divorce?
While overall divorce rates have decreased, interestingly divorce rates for women over the age of 55 have drastically increased. Regardless of age, divorce has a drastic impact on a family’s finances but the stakes only grow as a couple ages. In most divorce cases, a couple’s assets are split in half. This creates a need for financial advice on how to handle these assets. Retirement planning will need to be adjusted to accommodate for these lifestyle changes and perhaps new goals.
So as you can see, it is different. As women, we have different needs when it comes to managing our finances. It’s important to educate one another and support each other. If you’re not sure – talk to an expert. Look for a fiduciary that is required to give you advice that’s in your best interest. Finances can be an intimidating topic but we are seeing progress. Rather than looking at our womanhood as a challenge, we can look at it as an opportunity to grow and empower one another.
About the author:
Catherine Azeles, CFP®, RICP®
Catherine is an investment consultant with Conrad Siegel’s wealth management team in Harrisburg. She specializes in comprehensive financial planning where she partners with clients through the different stages of retirement planning, investment management, risk mitigation strategy and estate preservation planning. A staple in our local community, Catherine was recently named 2021 Woman of the Year by the Central PA Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and recognized as one of CPBJ’s Forty Under 40 in 2020.
Although her two young children, Ella and Cameron, her husband, Matt and her dog keep her pretty busy most days, Catherine feels a strong commitment to the community and giving back. When not busy meeting with clients or tending to her family’s needs, Catherine stays involved through organizations such as Leadership Harrisburg Area and the United Way. You can learn more about Catherine and the Conrad Siegel team at conradsiegeladvisors.com
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