5 Unique Financial Planning Considerations for Women
How a Financial Advisor Can Help You Overcome Common Barriers to SuccessKathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Monday, 05 December 2022
It’s tempting to think that money is an equalizer or that “investing is investing” regardless of the investor’s demographics. However, there are key differences in financial planning for women. Both societal factors and common life events can impact a woman’s financial position and her resulting investment choices. Below, I’ll review five financial planning considerations for women to help better equip you to meet and overcome challenges that may lie ahead.
Consideration #1: A Persistent Wage Gap
On average, women are paid 83 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same type of employment. The gap is greater in certain industries, as well as for women of color across the board. This puts women at a significant competitive disadvantage when it comes to building wealth and planning for the future. Not only are they earning less – thereby having smaller nest eggs – but women also tend to live longer than men and must make that nest egg last longer.
Always remember that you’re entitled to ask questions related to your compensation and benefits. You might also seek employment opportunities with companies that have signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge. It’s important to understand what’s available to you and to strategize how much to contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement plan versus any individual accounts you may own. A financial advisor can help you navigate these choices and develop a comprehensive plan.
Consideration #2: Living Longer Than Your Spouse or Partner
There are obvious emotional and psychological implications to losing your significant other, but there are important financial planning considerations, too. To avoid complications, it’s important to always have an understanding of your joint income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It’s also advisable to have a financial advisor that helps you address potential scenarios by asking the right questions and helping you make provisions to address how the surviving spouse will maintain their standard of living. You’ll want to think about the role life insurance may play and be sure to update beneficiary designations as life evolves.
A step you can take right now to better prepare for the future is to keep a record of all your account login information and passwords, as well as important documents like insurance policies. Make sure both spouses have access to this information and update it as needed.
SEE ALSO: Six Ways Women Can Gain More Financial Security
Consideration #3: Becoming a Caregiver
Far more women than men become primary caregivers for loved ones. It’s challenging on every level, and potential time away from work can impact income and benefits. At times, it may mean leaving employment altogether for a time. If you have the option to commit to the role of caregiver versus hiring one or putting your loved one into a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, try to do a cost-benefit analysis. This is difficult because emotions can cloud the decision but try to set them aside as you consider the overall financial impact you’ll absorb. This includes wages, Social Security benefits, retirement savings, vacation days, sick time, and any other perks you enjoy now, as well as how that might change if you’re in a caregiver role.
Putting your career on hold to care for a loved one may be the right decision for you but work alongside a financial advisor who can help guide you through the decision-making process so you can explore all options.
Consideration #4: Divorce, Remarriage & Blended Families
Family dynamics change all the time, and financial planning for women must recognize that. While the overall divorce rate in the United States is down in recent years, it’s actually rising for women aged 55 and over. Often, this creates financial vulnerability for women who are past their peak earning years, or who may have relied fully on spousal income. Financial planning alongside a trusted advisor is necessary to account for things like division of asset scenarios, insurance needs, and financial support for minor children or other dependents.
When women remarry or enter blended families, the financial picture can become complex. This is especially true if one or both spouses have children from previous relationships. A financial advisor can help a blended family determine a strategy for blending finances, making estate planning decisions, and more.
SEE ALSO: Seven Harmful Myths About Women and Money
Consideration #5: Conservative Investing
Research suggests that fewer than 50% of women are currently investing in the stock market, compared to 66% of men. The women who are in the market tend to trade less than men and make more conservative investment decisions. Since risk is often tied to earnings, female investors who are unwilling to tolerate a level of risk suitable to their circumstances and investment time horizons can miss out on the benefits of compounded earnings over time.
This is another reason that women should work alongside a financial professional who can talk through all the factors that go into determining the right asset accumulation methods, including aggressively investing in the stock market.
Do You Need an Advisor Who Understands Financial Planning for Women?
One of the reasons I started Flourish Wealth Management was to better serve women in an industry that is dominated by men and, consequently, often under-serves female clients. If you’re looking for an advisor who understands financial planning for women, we can help. Our goal is to help you meet your financial goals and your larger personal aspirations, too. Contact us today to schedule a conversation and learn whether our financial planning services are a match for your needs.
About the Author
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.