Working women who save for retirement will likely be less than satisfied by the assumption that wherever their retirement savings lack, they can depend on savings of their husband. Naturally, couples plan and save together, which is great, but at the end of the day, is it harder for women? A recent report by Financial Finesse took up this question, and produced some statistics that can hold actionable insights for retirement planners in Irvine and beyond. The report suggested that, although there have been some improvements, women do face certain challenges related to financial wellness and their place in the workforce, and as a result do experience a lag in retirement readiness when compared to men. And it can start early.
An often-cited issue for women is the pay gap. The report found that, while great strides in pay equality have been made since the 70s, women are currently earning about 23% less than men, based on median earnings of full-time, year-round workers. Obviously that can add up over time. The next, potentially more detrimental factor is that it is women who are more likely to take time off from their careers to care for children or sick or ageing family. This can cut for two reasons: the individual misses out on savings, which could compound over time, and also, reentering the workforce can pose challenges, and often comes with a cut in pay.
What’s more, the report showed that for women, there is a significant lag in perceived financial wellness in the area of money management. In the survey, women overall scored themselves 10 to 17% lower than men in a variety of questions, including, “I have a handle on my cash flow,” “I have an emergency fund,” and, “I am comfortable with the amount of non-mortgage debt that I have,” among others. This is counterintuitive to the results of a pew research survey, which found that in couples, it was more common for the woman to make more money decisions (43%), or to make equal decisions (31%), than for the man to take the lead in finances (26%).
So what are women to do? The report suggested that a recent uptick in women taking advantage of financial wellness education may be making a difference, with women counting for 63% of those getting the help, compared to just 52% in 2011.
At Miramontes Capital, our differentiator is just that: a dedication to education for our clients. Whether male or female, married or unmarried, the one thing you can control is the amount of planning and preparation you put in to your retirement. Whether it’s your first step, or you’ve got a plan in place, choose us as your financial planner in the Irvine and Orange County area. We can help you close the gap in your financial literacy.
View the full results of the report here.
 “Gender Gap in Financial Literacy.” Financialfinesse.com. 2014.