Women's Finance

Last week, we discussed various reasons why women are anxious about their financial security and stability as they approach retirement. Many women are unaware or are not taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them for planning and saving for their golden years. This week, we will review ways that women (and men) can improve their outlook for financial stability in retirement.

It’s fair to say that in the United States, women today are better educated and have more career opportunities than previous generations. However, even with those advancements, many women are still anxious about being financially secure upon their retirement. According to the Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American Workers, only 10 percent of women are “very confident” in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle. In contrast to their male counterparts whose greatest financial priority is saving for retirement and building a large enough nest egg, women are focused on just getting by and covering their basic living expenses.

Just a few weeks ago a surprising statistic showed up in one of our blogs. Over half of single women have a moderate or heavy amount of anxiety about dealing with finances. Many single women are successful in their chosen field and many are business owners. American Express commissioned a study this year that found the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent between 2007 and 2016. Many of these women are sole owners, showing us that the idea of successful single women can be a spectrum from personally single to business single and personally attached.   

It’s not news that women face unique challenges throughout life, financially and otherwise. What is news, however, is the data underlining the problems. More than half of single women and 41 percent of married women say they feel either a moderate or a lot of anxiety about their personal financial security. This is certainly not a positive. What’s going on?

What would happen if suddenly you found yourself single after being married for thirty years? Or what if you became widowed? Would you be prepared? What if you decided to move in with your significant other? How would that affect you financially, as a woman? These are realistic scenarios. According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, about 9 million women over the age of 60 are living the single life. How are they doing financially?

Meet Melissa. Melissa is happily single, has built her career over many years, owns her own home and is generally able to afford what she needs. Melissa is concerned about saving the right amount to provide for a comfortable retirement, travel, home improvements and the possibility of living to age 100. Melissa is an example of an executive woman.

Executive women are a rapidly growing segment of the population and, like anyone, can use guidance on how to properly invest for their futures. But if you are in this category, you may have different expectations of your financial advisor than men do, as you may have different priorities for your hard earned money. Here are just a few expectations that you, as an executive woman, may want to discuss with your financial advisor.

As surprising as it may sound, many women still do not think about their retirement. Some may assume they will work until they are physically no longer able and that social security will cover any expenses they need. Others might believe that their husbands’ pensions or savings is enough. But statistically, women tend to outlive men, which means even married women are going to need to be knowledgeable about and in control of their retirement. Clearly, there are still misconceptions about retirement, and these underscore the importance of retirement education for women.

Women face unique challenges when planning financially. So not surprisingly, often the best advisors to help women plan are other women. No, this is nothing against male advisors who may be equally as competent. These are insights into some of the dynamics that might affect whether a woman could be more comfortable working with another woman.

Gender traits – To begin, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” right? It’s common knowledge that women operate differently than men. Many women tend to excel at listening empathetically, building relationships and practicing patience. This is not to say men cannot act in a similar manner, but it’s not as common with men in the client-advisor relationship. These traits that many women advisors possess aid in effective communication, which is imperative for a good planner-client relationship.

 

One of life’s most devastating events is the loss of a spouse. Understanding what you should do if you are found in that situation can make a lot of difference as you cope and move forward in your life.

Many couples delegate their roles in marriage, such as who manages the bill paying, housework, shopping, cleaning, repairs, gardening, and such.  But what happens when one half of that team is no longer there to help?

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, over 80% of widowed people over age 85 in the United States are women.  35% of the women aged over 65 are widows, and 46% of women aged 75+ are living alone.   Sadly, in the United States, over 48% of the poor elderly are widows. 

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