March is Women’s History Month, and since women began officially celebrating their political, economic and social achievements over a century ago, they have made significant strides in these areas. And though women have overcome many obstacles, they still face some unique financial and lifestyle challenges. Here are four tips for women to help overcome these challenges when working toward their financial goals.
1. Plan to live longer on your retirement savings. On average women live longer than men. Living to an old age is a blessing, but it can also mean facing greater healthcare costs and the challenge to make retirement savings last. To avoid the future burden of long-term care costs on yourself and your family, consider including a long term care policy into your financial plans for retirement. Do your research beforehand, and keep in mind that these policies are typically more affordable to purchase while you’re relatively young and healthy.
2. Consider the financial impact of time out of the workforce. Taking on the role of caregiver for children or aging family members is admirable, but may place limits on one’s earning power and savings goals. Exiting the workforce for any period of time means leaving behind a paycheck, and often the ability to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. To off-set any loss of income from time spent out of the workforce, be sure to plan for the effect it may have your long-term financial goals and save more while you’re able.
3. Practice salary negotiation at work. When it comes to equal pay, women have done a lot of catching up, however their salaries still tend to be less on average – about 75 percent of what men earn – and that can add up over time. One of the factors that may contribute to this discrepancy in income is that women tend to impair their ability to earn more by hesitating to ask for and negotiate promotion or higher salary. Recognizing your worth and proactively seeking a salary increase can make a difference in your earning power, and your retirement savings.
4. Review your investment portfolio with a critical eye. Women tend to take a more conservative approach than men when investing their money. Though this isn’t always negative, defining and taking the appropriate amount of risk with your investment portfolio can be beneficial. Like with any important personal relationship, an emotionally balanced approach to your investment portfolio can produce healthier exchanges and opportunities.
Women have made achievements that generations ago seemed impossible, and now have the ability – and sometimes even an advantage – when it comes to financial independence. They now hold public office, occupy high-ranking positions in some of the largest global companies and run their own businesses. Recognizing your own financial personality, and planning for both the expected and unexpected events that life may throw your way is the first step in taking control of your finances. Whether you’re a man or woman, you’re likely busy with multiple obligations, and you may find yourself struggling to find time to spend with your finances. Consider working with a professional financial advisor who can help you evaluate your current financial situation and help better prepare for your long-term financial goals.
Rob Davis lives in University Place with his wife Lorri and sons Wesley and Parker. With over 34 years of experience, he is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents in the states of Washington and Idaho.
Source for statistics: Women’s statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration for the White House Council on Women and Girls, March 2011
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