During Women’s History Month, we focus on the vast contributions women have made to our society and how far women have come in the modern era. We should also use this month to talk about how we can bring women forward even farther. One way to do that is to help women get more familiar with their finances. The sooner women focus on financial issues, the better, because women start at a significant disadvantage!
Here are a few factors that continue to hamper the long-term financial wellness of women:
- Women still make less money than men, earning about $0.73 for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.
- Women spend more time out of the workforce than men. While stay-at-home fatherhood is slowly becoming more normalized, women are still more likely to take time off from their careers to provide full-time care for their children.
- Many women lack confidence in their financial knowledge, which can cause them to take no action rather than develop a strategic plan to tackle long-term financial strategies.
- While women tend to have important roles in managing day-to-day household finances, many still rely on their spouse to make longer-term financial strategic decisions that involve investing, retirement savings, and paying down debt.
So, what can you do to address these issues?
- Learn to negotiate and get in the habit of negotiating salary regularly. There are many resources out there with tips on negotiation, including: from Ramit Sethi (blogger at iwillteachyoutoberich.com), Mika Brezinski’s book Knowing Your Value, and Chris Voss’s book Never Split the Difference.
- Think carefully about the decision to step out of the workforce entirely. Often, this decision is made based on the cost of childcare versus the lower earning spouse’s income, but this fails to take into account future earning potential and pay raises. Consider building a cash cushion in advance that would help offset future childcare expenses, and allow both partners to remain fully invested in their careers.
- Consider working part time while raising young children, rather than leaving the workforce altogether. In the post-COVID pandemic working world, flexible remote work is a very real option for many career paths.
- Have a financial date night with your significant other – every month – to go over day-to-day expenses and long-term financial strategy. Make it fun by focusing on your long term goals, what you want to achieve together, and how your money can help get you there! If you’re having trouble answering those questions, consider hiring a financial advisor who can help guide you towards reaching those goals.
- Talk about money and investing with friends and family. Talking about saving and investing money can be empowering!
At Francis Financial, Inc., a woman-founded and woman-owned business, we’re all about improving women’s financial wellness. We believe in equal pay and are committed to supporting women down the path to financial security through our wealth management services and more.