As a SheSpeaks member I am given resources, tools, and opportunities to learn more about house and home, finances and money, great new products, services, and more. Recently, I was given the opportunity to learn some facts from Prudential about financial challenges we women face and why it is so very important for us to take control of our finances! This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Prudential. All opinions are strictly my own.
Prudential has been researching the financial challenges women face for several years. It’s not that we don’t care about our finances, we just hate all the talk that goes along with it. Let us simply get in there and put a plan of action into place without a lot of jargon.
Finances: It’s Time For Women To Take Control Of Their Own!
DID YOU KNOW?
- On average women have 30% lower retirement balances than men1
- 44% of women have no life insurance. Even among the ones that do own life insurance, most are underinsured2
- Women retire with 67% of the wealth of men, and they live 5-6 years longer than men do.3 Women are more likely to be single later in life.
- Marriage patterns have changed over the last few decades. Divorce has become more prevalent, and more women are choosing to remain single.4
Clay and I married when we were only 19 years old. We knew we needed money to live on but I don’t think either of us ever gave much thought to long term finances. I know I certainly didn’t. Other than paying the bills each month, I always left the finances and any savings or insurances up to Clay. If I was single, would I have known how to manage? I honestly don’t know! And that kind of scares me.
We didn’t save like we should have and weren’t as careful with our credit as we could have been. Now, 20 years later, we’re ready to purchase a home. Our kids will be graduating and heading off to college soon. Then they’ll be getting married. Clay will retire some day. We’ve both had illnesses and surgeries. We have large vacations we’d like to take with the kids before they’re grown. The list goes on and on. But the money doesn’t.
I had my “aha” moment. I see that I am just as responsible as my husband is for taking control of our finances and savings plans. When he was laid off from work a few years ago and then down for 12 weeks last year due to a hernia, I saw just how important my role is. With the lay offs, I think we were both in denial. Work would pick back up. We’d be ok. But with this surgery, that was a scary moment. First it was 10 weeks, he’d be off. Then it was 12 and so on. His hernia was very serious and if we hadn’t gotten him to the ER when we did and then surgery within the week, he could have died! It was that bad.
We had been talking, then, about finally buying a house and planning for our sons upcoming graduation as well as activities for the girls, upcoming travel, etc… So, I sat down and took a little peek at our finances and savings to see how we would make ends meet during Clay’s rehab time. I was shocked! I realized that I really had no idea about our finances. I wasn’t totally dumb about it, I just hadn’t kept up with it!
I make money, but not nearly as much as he does. I worried we wouldn’t be able to pay our regular bills and also keep saving for the other things. I worried we’d have to tap into what we had saved and lose that. I don’t have personal investments or life insurance. What if he couldn’t go back to work? What then? I needed to know where we stand money and savings wise and what would be there when we needed it. For either of us in the face of tragedy or just being ready to slow down.
So, while I’m married and concerned about marital finances, I’m also very worried about what would happen if I were the sole provider for our family or, worse, alone and taking care of myself and kids.
There are four key challenges impacting women’s finances:
1) Wage and Income Gap:
- The average woman working full-time earns 79% of the income earned by her male counterpart.5 This is because of many issues – lower likelihood to negotiate salaries, time out of the workforce, differences in pay.
- The wage gap not only impacts women’s 401K balances over their lifetime but it also impacts their social security payments. Predictably women’s social security benefits are 27% lower than that of their male counterparts.6
2) Investment Gap: Women don’t invest to the same degree as men. (or in my case, at all!) 7 Women’s discomfort with investing comes at a high cost for them: They are apt to delay investing, invest more in lower risk, lower return investments and are more likely to run out of money in retirement.
3) Women Are Living Longer and Living Alone: Women outlive men by an average of 5-6 years. 3 Are they prepared financially for these years?
4) Time Gap: On average, women in the U.S. spend 28 hours per week on household chores – 65 percent more than the average for men.8 That is uncompensated work and it does not figure into women’s financial planning. Prudential has created a tool called the “Value of all you do” that lets you very quickly quantify the value of all the household chores you do on a daily basis. What you would need to pay someone to do those for you.
I’m really glad I was able to learn some things from Prudential. As women, we can take care of our finances. There is no reason in the world that we can’t. And we should! We need to become participants in how and where our money is spent and what is there for savings. We need to know exactly where our nest egg is and how much we’ll have when the times comes that we need it.
If Clay and I are going to buy our dream house, take trips, send our kids off into their own futures, and someday slow down, we need to be prepared! I need to be prepared. I’m just as responsible for my own future as my husband is.
These people, right here, are my why and my aha! Minus our son who wouldn’t let me get a photo. :D
I’m taking every thing that I’m learning and teaching it to my own girls. I want them to be prepared from the start. As they grow and go out on their own, they will have the tools and resources to control their finances and make smart decisions for their own futures.
Take control of your financial future. Click here to take the first step and find a Prudential financial advisor near you.
What about you ladies? Are you prepared for your future, financially?
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis reflecting defined contribution plan balances of Prudential record-kept plans as of December 31, 2015
- Source: LIMRA study, Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Person-Level Trends: 2016
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis; National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Hyattsville, MD. 2016
- Source: Cruz, Julisa, “Marriage: More Than a Century of Change” (FP13-13), National Center for Family & Marriage, 2013,)
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables Table P-40: Women’s Earnings as a Percentage of Men’s Earnings by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2016
- Source: Social Security Administration, Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2016
- Source: http://fortune.com/2016/05/11/sallie-krawcheck-ellevest-launch;
- Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, October 2016, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=54757
- Source: US Census Bureau 2015;