Have you noticed that we are experiencing a female power surge? In the recent election we saw a broad sweep of women elected into public office. So much so that we may have just elected the woman who is destined to become our first female president. One can hope anyway!
If you watched either of the political conventions hopefully you saw and heard some amazing and impressive new voices. The increasing number of female politicians may mean more family friendly public policies in the future.
Despite the changing face of our political leaders the more things change the more they stay the same. This is especially true when it comes to women and the financial marketplace. Historically women have been underserved in this area. As such women have been and still are at an economic disadvantage.
I came of age in the 1960s and 70s when women were burning bras and entering the work force in record numbers. Career options for women were rapidly expanding. I was thankful for the trailblazers who came before me and paved the way. There were many more doors open to me than there was for my mother’s generation. I chose a business path. This meant that despite opportunities I routinely found myself in a male dominated culture. This is still largely true today in certain industries and business disciplines. I often made less than a man in the same role. I thought if I just worked harder I would get there. All I had to do was prove myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Have you ever felt that way?
Fast-forward 40 years to 2012; on average, women still earn 23 percent less than men. Both presidential candidates were asked about this in a recent debate. Neither had an answer, sad but true. I don’t believe it will change until women wake up and start asking questions, the right questions. Until they care enough to right the economic apple cart, so to speak. Change will only happen when the majority of women become active and assert their voice as the early trailblazers did.
Why do I say this? It’s because Sara and I see many women who are slow to take responsibility and assume accountability for their own economic future. Recently someone very dear to me said she just wasn’t interested in learning more about financial matters. She said it was the one thing she didn’t have to “worry about”. Her husband took care of all of the financial decisions. Does this sound familiar? It’s actually quite common.
The reality is that most women will find themselves responsible for their own financial future at some point in their life yet many are unprepared for this reality. Statistics bear out that one half of all marriages end in divorce and women live longer than men. If your husband or partner died tomorrow do you know where all the financial records and investments are? Do you know why they are invested the way they are? Does your current financial planner or financial advisor engage you in the meetings?
Women are also impacted a great deal by what we used to refer to as the mommy tax. Now more appropriately labeled the caregiver’s tax. Statistics support that women who do work generally earn less and save less for retirement because of lost years in the work force due to childbearing or caregiving. This puts women at an economic disadvantage. Financial advisors and financial planners are bombarded by messages suggesting we gear our marketing towards women. They are the new niche market. We find these articles and messages perplexing. Who better to understand and talk to women than women?! We are women. We are experienced. We don’t have to learn how to address our fellow sisters!
Ladies, it is up to you to take charge and learn what you need to learn. Demand involvement in financial discussions; don’t be left on the sideline. My fear is that change won’t occur until women find themselves in a financial crisis and ask themselves why didn’t I learn this when I had the chance? Don’t let this be you!
Ladies I ask you… are you ready to start asking the tough questions?
Will you have enough to support your family? Are you on track to ensure you won’t run out of money before you run out of life?
Nobody can do it for you. Join forces with someone who speaks your language. Who knows the importance of educating and mentoring her clients – someone like the Certified Financial Planners at Preferred Financial Strategies!