Financial Planning For Women A Must
Written By Karen Squires
It appears that the wage gap among genders is there from the beginning. Women's wages, retirement and pensions are less than a man's and it starts as soon as we enter the work force as teenagers.
Results from a poll show that half of teenage girls make less that $6 per hour and only 34.1% of teenage boys do. 33.5% of boys make more than $7.51 per hour but only 19.2% of girls do.
According to an informational card called FACTS ABOUT.
• In the year 2000, women earned only 73% of every dollar men earned. A woman who has graduated from college will earn $523,000 less over her lifetime than a male performing the same job.
• Two thirds of the 7.2 million elderly women living alone have an income of less than $15,000 per year.
• In the year 2000, women who were over 65 years of age were twice as likely as men to live below the poverty level.
• 25% of older women rely on Social Security as their sole source of income.
Women who stay at home to raise their children are often penalized for taking care of their families. Men stay in the work force from teenage years to retirement. Women often work as teenagers and throughout their college years, then stay home and raise the children. It can take 5 years to make up for lost wages and retirement for every 1 year a woman takes off work. While both working outside of the home, and raising the children, are a necessary part of our society and family life, raising children is often seen as "less than", "not as important as," having a job.
While men in the workforce are building retirement plans, there is no retirement plans for a woman who stays at home with the children. It's sad that our country does not value the care that mothers provide for our children, and the future of our country, more than that. For women that do work, the situation is not much better, as retired women only get 1/2 as much pension as men do. And even worse, 50% of working women have jobs that provide no retirement at all.
Women who stay at home with the children often don't give much thought to retirement. They are sometimes unaware of what the future can and will hold for them. The may believe that their husbands retirement will take care of them. This may or may not be true. According to the National Center for Women & Retirement, 80 to 90% of women will be solely responsible for their own finances at some point in their live, mostly due to the death of a spouse or divorce. According to Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO), 2/3 of women over 65 have no pension other than Social Security, and we all know how much we can count on that.
Men nor women can count on Social Security, and the stock market can be a ricky way to plan for the future, especially if you are not educated in finances, and most people aren't. According to Ihatefinancialplanning.com, 56% of women are afraid to learn about financial planning because the topic seems complicated and they don't feel confident in making financial decisions. But to trust that your husband's employer, or yours, is handling investment's wisely, and count on that as a comfortable retirement, is risky. There is a saying that the reason financial advisors are called brokers is because they are often broker than we are. They sometimes don't understand the market very well themselves and we are all trusting our futures on their decisions.
Regardless of your marital status, you should take a look at your retirement seriously. Fortunately women today are better educated and can learn how to take care of their finances. Make sure that your future is taken care of whether your husband is working and investing or not. Become involved in the planning, ask questions. Do you know where the money is? Do you know how to access it if your husband were to die suddenly? It can happen.
Become financially intelligent by reading books and taking classes in finances. I suggest you start reading the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books by Robert T. Kiyosaki, he's written many. Check your library for the titles available and read them all. You are capable of finding a physician to take care of your health, so find a financial planner that specializes in helping women, and take care of your finances. If that idea scares you, or if you don't have any money right now, start with reading and learning, it's free. The children grow up and you will find yourself back in the workforce. Become educated in the meantime and know what you are going to do with your money when you get some.
June cleaver never gave much thought to retirement, she let Ward do it all. That wasn't as dangerous then as it is now. Ward no doubt worked for a firm that had a DB retirement plan, or Defined Benefit. This plan defined a set dollar amount that Ward would received after retirement. For example, if Ward worked for 40 years he would get $1000 a month after he retired for as long as he lived. With inflation that may or may not be a comfortable income. Today most companies have a DC plan, or Defined Contribution. Your company matches your contribution. If you contribute nothing, you get nothing. If you do contribute, your contribution is often put into the stock market by your company. You may retire with a lot of money or you may retire broke, depending on what the market is doing and/or how well your money is managed.
Consider your stocks as the tires on your car. They are great and certainly necessary. But would you drive around without a spare incase one or all of your tires went flat? No! Have other ways that you are investing your money for retirement, like income property for example.
It's a good idea to have some of your financial planning separate from your husbands. The divorce rate is at 50% and that makes it imperative that you are taking care of yourself. I got married back in 1980, and I thought that it would last forever. I was divorced 7 years later. I was a single mother, no education past high school, and a toddler to take care of. I spent 10 long years going to college and barely surviving. I learned the hard way. But I was also lucky as it taught me that life can change in a second. I went from middle class to surviving on $300 a month. I learned that lesson as a fairly young woman so I had plenty of time to make changes and plans for the future. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult that lesson would have been if I had been 65. At some point in 9 out of 10 women's lives, they will be the sole income earner. I am now becoming financially intelligent. It is a long process and I have so much to learn. But I am taking it one step at at time.
Another reason to have some financial planning separate from your husband's is life span. Women often live longer than men. You should consider the possibility that you may live into your 90's. Where are you going to get the money to survive on for that long? Scary thought, isn't it. Don't put it off any longer. Become financially wise now.
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