March 8th is International Women’s Day. Over the years women have fought for equality, the right to vote and equal pay. This day was first marked in 1911 with more than one million people celebrating in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland. It wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day.
Women have come a long way since 1975, but we still have far to go. More women than ever have college degrees; however, we are still earning less than men. In addition to this many of us are having and raising children and often are the ones being called upon when a parent needs help in old age.
Building a successful retirement plan can be much harder for women than their male counterparts. Combine a lower income, less years working full time due to child rearing or caring for a family member plus the fact that on average, women live 5.8 years longer than men; and it’s easy to see why. We tend to have less years to save, less to save with, which leads to less Social Security, we have more years of retirement spending and are more likely to spend time in a nursing home. This is exactly why women need to start young and build a strong strategy.
However, most women shy away from taking control of their financial world. Don’t get me wrong, there are some women that are all over it, and they take charge. The majority, though, feel as though they are uneducated or they can’t understand. Often women, really bright professional women, will share how they feel when this topic comes up. I hear their shame that they don’t have control over this. I hear, doubt that they will understand it as well as their spouse. I also hear how busy they are and that they can’t add one more ‘to do’ to their world. So many just let this go for now, or they relegate this to their spouse. But the doubt is still there.
Along our lives there are many financial goals we might have. Paying for our own education, marriage, buying a house, starting or adding to a family, buying a vacation home, starting a business, caring and educating your children, being philanthropic, and the biggie: retirement planning. Just like any other goal in your life, the chance of reaching this goal is smaller when you don’t have a plan.
Financial planning does not need to be hard; it doesn’t need to be full of jargon people don’t understand and it does not need to be full of someone telling you how to live your life. Think about how fun planning a vacation can be. Planning your retirement, giving your child a dream wedding, helping your kids get a great start in life by helping with college costs are all huge accomplishments and should be fun to plan. A good financial planner will help you think through all the big accomplishments you want for yourself and your family. They will help you understand what may stand in your way and they will give you options, with the education to understand these options. They should also help you understand your relationship with money and your cashflow. Hold out to find an advisor like this, one you enjoy talking to, someone who listens to you.
In honor of International Women’s Day, get fierce with your financials. Take control and build the life you want. Your first step is to think of your future self, on the first day of retirement. Think about how great it would feel to know you had done the work to build a plan. Now do the work!
Note: At Empowered Financial Strategies, we understand how important it is to have a good foundation of basic financial knowledge. We offer workshops for women with this end in mind. If you have a group or association and would like us to speak, please reach out to us at Contact (empowered-fs.com)
At Empowered financial, we Listen to Learn and Educate to Empower.
Carolyn Humphrey, Founder Empowered Financial Strategies,
About the author:
Carolyn Humphrey, is a Financial Advisor, with licenses in areas of Life, disability, health and Long-Term Care Insurances as well as a number of Finra licenses allowing her to work in various areas of Wealth Management. She has earned the RICP®, (Retirement Income Certified Professional), from the American College. This designation helps Financial Advisors learn about how to guard against the 18 risks that clients face in retirement. She has also earned the WMPC®, (Wealth Management Certified Professional), which is designed to help Financial Advisors build efficient portfolios for goals-based investing. Carolyn has also earned the CLF®, Certified Leadership Fellow, which has helped her in various leadership positions such as being a national trainer as well as a manager of a team of advisors. She has been married and caring for rescue pups since the early 1990’s and has been an avid Buffalo Bills fan forever.