First, my disclaimer: It’s important that women and men understand their finance! All adults need to have a basic understanding of money management.
However, on average men are still the ones to manage the family long-term financial planning, including: savings, investments, retirement, management and insurance. A UBS survey of high net worth married women, widows, and divorcees found that while 85% of the women said they managed day-to-day expenses, only 23% said they took the lead on long-term financial planning. These long-term components are the crucial areas that make sure we’re prepared for retirement, protected from disasters and are fully optimizing our money. Those who don’t manage (or co-manage) their finances with their spouse aren’t getting the valuable experience and knowledge to ensure they can be financially independent. The reason women are less involved ranged from a belief that their partner knew more about the topic, to discouragement from their spouse.
So not only do women have less experience when it comes to managing the finances, we also face certain unique challenges that add to the need for financial knowledge and independence.
Fact 1.Women live longer:
The average American man will live to age 76, according to the latest CDC figures, while the average woman in America will live to age 81.
Why does this matter? Although overall living longer should be seen as a positive, that’s five more years of food, housing and especially, healthcare. The older we get, the more health problems we face. A healthy 55-year-old woman may end up paying $79,000 more for healthcare over the course of her retirement than a man the same age simply for living longer, not because she consumes more healthcare in a year. So it’s that much more important we pay attention to our retirement and insurance planning.
Fact 2. Women are more likely to leave the workplace mid-career:
Women’s participation in the U.S. workforce decreases during the mid-career stage, from 46% at entry level to a mere 29% by the time they reach VP level. This can be for many reasons, but often this is around the time when women get married, have children and/or are faced with caring for aging parents. Men face the same life stages at this time, but women are more likely to leave the workforce to care for the children or a parent.
Why does this matter? A study published by the Harvard Business Review found that 93% of highly qualified women who leave want to return to their careers, but find it difficult to do so. This makes it even more challenging for women to advance their careers, make more money and be fully independent. Leading into my next point…