Besides earning less, women have less confidence about their stability
In a poll by the National Women’s Law Center, women were more likely than men to feel that they are falling behind economically. They worry more about their financial future. For many women, the concerns are not unfounded. More than 14 million women live in poverty. More than 17 million have no health insurance. On average, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Michelle Singletary: In the 1970s, there was an Enjoli perfume commercial showing a woman, clutching a fistful of money, who proclaimed she could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.
The ad’s jingle empowered me. Whenever it aired, I would prance around singing it. That’s right — even though I’m a woman, I can earn, spend, save and invest like any man.
But decades later, even though women have moved ahead financially, a number of studies and polls indicate that we still have more to achieve and sometimes we impede our progress with our own doubts.
In a poll by the National Women’s Law Center, women were more likely than men to feel that they are falling behind economically. They worry more about their financial future.
For many women, the concerns are not unfounded. More than 14 million women live in poverty. More than 17 million have no health insurance. On average, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
If women in the workforce earned the same amount as men who work the same number of hours, have the same education, age and union status and live in the same region of the country, their annual family incomes would rise by about $4,000 and their poverty rates would be cut by half or more, according to the law center.
Prudential Financial found in a study released this year that women tend to have clear financial priorities but little confidence in their ability to achieve those goals. Less than a quarter feel that they are “very well” prepared to make financial decisions related to employee workplace benefits, retirement and other important financial planning matters.
Prudential called it a confidence gap.
“It’s that chasm that lies between knowing something and doing something about it,” the study said. The report, “Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women,” is the fifth in a series that began in September 2000.
In 2006, Allianz Life Insurance commissioned a report to better understand how women handle money. In the latest installment of the Allianz Women, Money and Power Study, the insurer found that more than half of all women want to learn more about retirement planning and entry-level saving and investing.
Like other studies, Allianz found that despite their desire to learn more, many women postpone long-term financial planning because they’re overwhelmed by short-term priorities, such as caring for children or aging parents, working outside the home and community commitments.
All three of the studies offer recommendations to help women become better off financially.
In releasing its poll results, the law center called for a number of government initiatives including increasing the tax credit for low-earning families and providing health coverage for all families.
Prudential and Allianz want women to hire financial professionals to help manage their money. Prudential says a financial adviser “may be the extra nudge some women need to get started.”
I agree that our government needs to do more. And yes, a financial adviser can help you develop a good financial plan.
But really, ladies, more of us need to stop fearing all things financial or doubting we can manage this stuff. We certainly cannot always wait on a government program. And if Prince Charming does come along, he may have his own financial challenges. Heck, his horse is likely to be leased.
To take control, start this way:
- Write down your financial goals. What do you want to do with the bacon you’re making?
- Figure out just where your money is going. Yes, that means doing a budget.
- Get a will. You should have one even if you are single. Surely you’ve accumulated some things that could be helpful to others.
- Get disability insurance. The fact is you are more likely to become disabled than need life insurance.
- Participate in your employer’s retirement savings plan. At least contribute enough to get the matching funds your company may offer. If your employer doesn’t provide a retirement plan, then contribute to an individual retirement account or a Roth IRA.
- Pay attention to every penny you spend. For a month, write down everything you buy and determine what you can do without. Then take the savings and build an emergency fund.
The Allianz study identified the top five financial areas women want to learn about. They are:
- Planning for retirement/maintaining lifestyle in retirement.
- How to start saving or investing on very little income.
- Basics of buying smart.
- How to buy/select the right insurance products.
- Definition of basic financial terms (IRAs, annuities, mutual funds).
So what’s stopping you from learning? You can start finding answers to those questions by going to http:/
Even if the money gets tight or the financial jargon makes you wanna holler, encourage yourself to press on, learn and take action. You can be your own motivator because you’re a W-O-M-A-N. Now say it again.
Via Washington Post