By Rosanne Rogé, CSA, RFG, CFP®
There are numerous books and studies surrounding gender differences. It’s safe to say men truly are from Mars, and women are from Venus. The two groups differ in their relationships, communication style and emotional needs. It’s not surprising that their relationships with money and financial needs also differ. Here are four pieces of financial advice specifically for women, from a woman who has been in the financial services industry for over 25 years.
- Review Your Overall Financial Health. For years, research has proven that women tend to live longer than their male peers. Additional years mean additional funds are needed to support their lifestyles, healthcare and more. Therefore, it’s really important for women to review their overall financial health. Ask yourself these important questions:
- Do you need disability insurance?
- Are you saving enough money towards retirement?
- Do you understand your financial situation?
- Does your current financial plan consider your projected life expectancy?
- Will your savings and/or portfolio last your lifetime?
- Protect Yourself from Financial Elder Abuse. Recent studies show that women are twice as likely to be victims of financial elder abuse. You can help combat this horrible trend by simply being prepared. Work with a trusted financial advisor and Estate Planning attorney as soon as possible to ensure your durable power of attorney, end of life wishes, and medical directives are clearly documented.
- Educate Yourself. Although traditional roles are changing with more women becoming breadwinners and leaders in their industry, studies show lower levels of financial literacy and financial confidence among women. At some point in their lives, 80-90 percent of women will be responsible for their own finances due to divorce, death of a spouse or other reasons. In addition, studies show that divorce is typically more financially devastating for women than it is for men.1 Even if you’re completely uninterested in finance, start educating yourself by working with a trusted financial advisor that will help you make informed decisions about your financial future. Learn the difference between a Fee-Only and Fee-Based advisor, and the definition of a Fiduciary.
- Save More. Women are more likely to reduce work hours or leave the workforce altogether to raise a family, take care of an aging loved one, or for unexpected medical reasons. This income disparity can lead to a smaller retirement savings and can even translate to a 25-30 percent shortfall compared to men’s retirement savings.2 Before leaving the workforce for any reason, consider increasing your savings to prepare for a possible monetary deficit. You can also consolidate existing debt to lower your interest rate on that debt.
Although women are taking steps in the right direction when it comes to finances by becoming more involved and more informed than in the past, it’s important not to become another statistic. Protect yourself and educate yourself now so that you can achieve financial freedom in the future.
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2 CSA Journal 62 / Spring 2015 / Society of Certified Senior Advisors / www.csa.us