Melissa Houston, Contributor
Oct. 16, 2023
In the past, women were programmed to believe that their role in the household is to manage the household rather than the finances. Women have been told they don't have the brain for financial planning, investing, or business. But the narrative has changed.
Today, women are taking initiatives, breaking the myths, and gaining financial independence. They are aware that managing their finances does not require special skills, but it's all about developing the right mindset and knowledge.
Fidelity Investments released the Women Tapping Into Their Financial Superpowers report which states that one in four women now have a financial plan. This is a big win for gender equality. As more women continue to seek financial independence it reflects a broader social shift towards gender equality and empowerment. Women are not content to simply rely on the men in their lives to provide for them; they want to take control of their own financial futures.
Despite the progress that women have made in recent years, there is still room for improvement. It has been reported that 27 percent of women still don’t save for retirement because they feel they do not earn enough.
This is a troubling statistic, as it suggests that many women may not be adequately prepared for their retirement years. It's important for women to recognize the importance of planning for retirement early on, as starting small and making incremental contributions can make a significant difference over time.
Let’s examine some of the primary challenges women face when it comes to retirement planning:
1. Gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is one of the primary challenges women face when it comes to retirement planning. Women, on average, earn less than men, which makes it harder to save for retirement. On top of earning less money, women are more likely to take time off from work to raise children or care for elderly relatives, which can further reduce their earning potential.
One way to overcome this challenge is to negotiate for higher pay. Women should be open and honest with their employers about their goals and expectations. You should research industry salaries and be confident in your abilities to ask for what you deserve.
And for female entrepreneurs, it's more important to assert your value and charge clients what you deserve. Don't be afraid to set your prices based on the tremendous value you bring to the table.
2. Longer life expectancy
Women typically live longer than men, which means you need more retirement savings to cover the extra years. Additionally, women may face increased healthcare costs as they age. This challenge can be addressed by planning for retirement early and saving more money. It's important to start saving for retirement as soon as possible and to take full advantage of retirement plans offered by employers.
3. Lack of financial confidence
Many women lack the confidence to make financial decisions and invest in the stock market. This can lead to missed opportunities for growth and higher returns. Women should educate themselves about investing and seek the advice of a financial advisor. By learning about different investment strategies, you can build a diversified portfolio and feel more confident about your financial decisions.
4. Divorce and spousal death
Divorce and spousal death can be major setbacks to retirement planning, especially for women who may be relying on their partner's retirement savings. To protect against this challenge, women should consider obtaining life insurance and diversifying investments. It's important to have a financial plan in place that considers the possibility of divorce or the death of a spouse.
5. Elderly care costs
Women are more likely to become caregivers for elderly relatives, which can impact their ability to save for retirement. To overcome this challenge, it's important to plan for elderly care costs as early as possible. Women should consider long-term care insurance and look into government assistance programs.
The bottom line is that women face several unique challenges when it comes to retirement planning. However, with careful planning and preparation, it is possible to overcome these challenges and build a secure retirement. By negotiating for higher pay, planning for healthcare costs and elderly care, and seeking financial advice, women can take control of their financial futures.
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