Money Considerations for Women

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

The gentleman next to me during the opening dinner at a recent conference couldn’t get over the fact that I named my organization Savvy Ladies. Why, he wanted to know, did I find it necessary to focus solely on women? This, of course, is an excellent question. While men, too, benefit greatly from financial education, the following factors make it even more pressing for women to plan ahead and set financial goals:

  1. In average, women make less money than men. This isn’t always true – we have come a long way – but the many women living on mediocre wages need to take this into consideration when outlining their path to financial freedom. 
  2. Women tend to live longer than men. While the life expectancy for an American man is 75.4 years, the average American woman can expect to live 80.5 years. While a long life is usually desirable, it also makes things a bit trickier for women: not only do they often make less money, but they need to set aside a larger chunk of cash in order to obtain the same standard of living as retirees.
  3. Many women take breaks from their careers to raise children. While for some, this is limited to six weeks of maternity leave, others find it rewarding to remain at home for several years, looking after their little ones. An average woman spends 11 ½ years out of the workforce, versus 16 months for men (Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement). Whatever route you opt for, make sure you make the appropriate adjustments to your retirement plan.

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