Hey Ladies! We Are in the National Spotlight!
Women are making more money than ever, but there’s bad news too
Have you noticed? We, as women, are now in the national spotlight! Presidential nominee Hilary Clinton and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin have put us right up there. No matter how we got in the national spotlight, there is suddenly a surge of information and opinion aimed right at us and it’s all right at our virtual fingertips.
We are now recognized as a force to be reckoned with in the financial market. According to the Insurance Advisory Board, women will soon control an estimated 60% of the nation’s wealth while other studies show a major increase in the number of college graduates, in the number of six-figure salaries and in the median income among women. That’s right, ladies, we are making more money than ever!
The bad news is that we work, on average, 12 years less than men, even though we have a greater possibility of outliving them! More bad news – we have fewer years to earn Social Security or save through employer-provided plans. These are just a few of the reasons that a Hartford and MIT Age Lab Study found that 90 percent of women feel “somewhat” or “not at all” financially secure.
The same study tells us that we are more concerned than men about outliving retirement assets, inflation, declining health with health care inflation and all other financial retirement categories. A Harris Study for Allianz Insurance and Age Wave found about half of us, even those earning over $100k, have the “Bag Lady Syndrome” – no, not a fear of having fabulous handbags, but of losing all our money and becoming impoverished. That study also reported that financial security and freedom are 15 to 20 times more important to us than financial status or respect. Meanwhile, other studies have shown that 80-90% of us will be managing our own finances at some point in our lives.
Stacy Francis, CFP, CDFA, is President of Francis Financial, a fee-only financial planning firm in New York City and is also the founder of Savvy Ladies. Savvy Ladies is a national non-profit organization empowering women through financial education. Stacy encourages us to consider 3 factors when it comes to our finances:
1) We are living longer than ever and are more active than ever; women on the average live to age 81, while the average life expectancy for men is 75.
2) We must have financial plans that include a high probability we will eventually be on our own. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce and the average age of widowhood is 57.
3) We need to be more aggressive when it comes to saving for retirement; the poverty rate of elderly women is twice that of elderly men, partly because women retirees receive only half the average pension benefits that men get.