AMANDA H. CHRISTENSEN, AFC, USU EXTENSION ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, UMM EDITOR
Clearly, it’s important that all adults have a rudimentary understanding of money management. You don’t have to dig too deep to see the critical issues that make this all the more important for women. Research shows specific issues that make it CRITICAL for women to understand the basics of personal finance are threefold: they live longer, are more likely to stop working mid-career, and they earn less. Let’s break down the “So What?”
Women live longer:
According to the latest CDC reports, American women live to an average age of 81. American men live to an average age of 76. So what? Largely speaking, living longer can be positive. That’s five more years of time with grandchildren, travel, service, and hobbies! It’s also five additional years of critical expenses including food, housing and healthcare. Health problems typically increase with age, however, even a healthy woman can pay close to $80K more for healthcare over the course of retirement simply for living longer. It’s highly important to keep a weather eye on retirement and insurance planning.
Women are more likely to stop working mid-career:
Studies have shown women are more likely to leave the workforce to be a caretaker for their children or a parent. So what? The Harvard Business Review published a study that found 93% of highly qualified women who leave their careers want to return but find it challenging. This domino effect creates difficulties to progress in a career, increase income, and maintain financial independence.
Women earn less:
It’s tough to take in, but the data is firm. Women in America earn 85% (2018 statistic) of what men earn according to the Pew Research Center. In Utah the statistic is even more staggering with women earning only 70% of what men earn for the same job. So what? (should I have to say that for this one?). When you earn less, you have less to manage, making it even more crucial that it’s managed well.
I know learning about personal finance can be “boring”. As an Accredited Financial Counselor, I’d have to disagree, but I get it. It’s a bit of a daunting task until you break it down into bite-sized pieces. Determining a budget, savings and spending goals, net worth, debt burden, investment strategies, etc. is intimidating. I co-authored the PowerPay Money Master Online Course, a video-based, USU Extension-sponsored resource, to set you on a path that can empower your financial wellness. I highly encourage you to check it out. Finally, for those whose spouse/partner are the primary financial managers, express interest in becoming more involved. Be co-managers when it comes to your family’s financial choices.
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