We are women advocating for women.
Money talk is taboo. It's a very personal subject, and for so many, an uncomfortable one to discuss even with those we are closest to. Yet, we know that women want to get more comfortable with their finances, which will facilitate their independence and ability to attain their goals, and fulfill their long aspired dreams. In 2015, Fidelity Investments did a study called Money Fit Women and found that among the national sample of 1,542 women, 92% want to learn more about financial planning for their future, yet only 47% say they would feel confident discussing money and investing with a financial professional on their own.
At CURO, we want to change the perception of financial professionals and create a warm and engaging environment where our clients can share their concerns and aspirations, learn openly and feel empowered with the tools to make the best choices for their future.
The truth is women are the underserved in the financial marketplace.
The majority of financial professionals are men, directing their focus to attract male clients, as the heads of household and top earners in most families. With a lack of financial awareness and confidence in making decisions regarding important money matters, such as retirement and investing, women are at a disadvantage when they need to take the reigns.
Personal finance can be a daunting subject, especially as life changes occur and their needs evolve. While some would rather live without the stress of knowing their full debt or the balance in their bank account, leaving the responsibility to their spouse or partner, what would happen in the event they were no longer there? According to the Social Security Administration, the average life expectancy for women is 81 years, compared to 73 years for men. The average age of widowhood is 55; what will you do then?
Times are changing.
Women hold the buying power in most households. Women are taking control of their futures and changing the economic statistics for their generations. Whether due to single parent households, a change in the social dynamic of marital partnerships, or progress toward equal compensation between sexes, women are the financial decision makers in the household, in increasing numbers across the nation. 27% of married women now say they “take control” of their family's financial and retirement planning, managing it themselves, up from 14% in 2006, according to Prudential’s 2014-2015 Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women Study.
The same study found that fewer than 2 in 10 women feel “very prepared” to make wise financial decisions. Half indicate that they “need some help,” and one-third feels that they “need a lot of help.”
When individuals were surveyed about how much they were aiming for in retirement savings, women aimed lower, with a median goal of $200,000 versus $400,000 for men, even though women have longer life expectancies.(Retirement Fitness Survey 2010) Is it that women have a decreased financial need than men? Not usually since women are more likely than men to be single parents, according to the US Census Bureau. Or is it that women just don't have a true picture of their financial health? Most likely, yes.
According to the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement and the National Center for Women’s Retirement Research, the average woman spends 15% of her working years outside of the workforce caring for children and elderly parents compared to 1.6% for the average working man. The decrease in earning potential can greatly impact a woman's retirement savings accumulation, without making the right adjustments to your financial plan to accommodate for the difference.
More than half of women (56%) expect to retire after age 65 – including 19% of those who “do not plan to retire” at all and will likely work another job, either full or part-time. (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies) Without adequate preparation, 67% of women will rely on social security to fund their living expenses in retirement. With the future of Social Security in jeopardy, there is dire need to find alternate means of income for women in their golden years.
The caution signs are there and it is clear to us that women need/want other strong women to encourage and support them along the way to understanding how to change the outcome of their financial future.
The good news is you can do something about it now.
Now is the time to act on your finances, before an emergency or major life change. Prepare for the rainy day. Plan for the retirement you imagined. Invest in the future of your next generation. Save for the days you dream about, whether they be sunset views from a beach house on your favorite shore, or your wild adventures abroad. The sooner you begin down the road of financial independence, the sooner you can reap the benefits of your success.
It's never too late to learn, plan or improve. Leverage your employer resources for guidance and investment opportunities. Seek out an investment class or club to learn more. Partner with a financial advisor you trust and is positioned to helping you grow your financial awareness. Imagine what could be if women were filled with the knowledge and confidence to take on any financial challenge they encounter, and they were able to pass that literacy on to other women and the generations beyond them. Knowledge is certainly power. Power begets strength. Strong women can change the world.