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Every woman faces a unique financial situation. Whether you are single, married, in a long-term relationship, divorced, widowed, or single with children, you will need to prepare for all the financial obstacles you may face.

Below are Department of Labor statistics as of 2017 that exemplifies why  is imperative to treat your financial situation as an ever-changing plan that will need to account for all the possibilities and hindrances we may face over our lifetime.

  • Women are more likely to work in part-time jobs that don’t qualify for a retirement plan. Moreover, working women are more likely than men to interrupt their careers to take care of family members. Therefore, they work fewer years and contribute less toward their retirement, resulting in lower lifetime savings.
  • Only 46 percent of working women participate in a retirement plan.
  • On average, a female can expect to live nearly three years longer than a man the same age.
  • At 65 or older, 95 percent of men and women have been married at least once; however, at these older ages, three times as many women (41%) as men (13%) are widowed. Women who live alone have the lowest median income of any household.
  • Women on average, earn 79% of what men earn, resulting in an average lifetime earnings differential of $250,000. 

These statistics are concerning. The time off women take to care for children, or family members can be problematic because social security is based on earnings made in a lifetime. If on average we are working less, our social security benefits are reduced. Another item to note, if you are the partner that decides to take time off work and care for children and family members, you can claim spousal social security benefits; however, you have to be married for ten years to do so, and most divorces happen within the first seven years.

Also, on average, women live longer than men. We should be concerned about the extended time frame for our retirement funds, yet only 46% of working women participate in a retirement plan when it is available to them.

Another obstacle women face is the gender wage gap. Since we earn on average 79% of what men earn this puts us at a disadvantage in retirement because we will have earned on average $250,000 less over our lifetime. We also tend to invest more conservatively than men. In the long run, that could lead to less growth and savings for our retirement and any other long-term financial goals. 

Even if you have not always been the partner that manages the household finances or is involved in making financial decisions, being informed is the first step to creating and implementing a plan for your future goals.

Here are a few tips that will help you take control of your finances and create a plan to get a precise and clear picture of your current financial situation: 

  • Identify and inventory all of your expenses. Evaluate how you are spending your money and come up with a plan to continuously monitor this activity. Then you can use that data to create a benchmark budget that you can adjust when needed. 
  • Prioritize your goals. If you have substantial student loans, want to save for your child’s college tuition, buy a house, or any other significant financial purchase, you should have an idea of how important each one is and a time frame for when you want to accomplish it. That will allow you to start creating line items in your budget for those goals. 
  • Determine a savings and investment strategy that works for you. Save what you can now and have a time frame for when you think you will be able to contribute even more to your savings and retirement. Hold yourself accountable for the increases you projected.

Taking control of your financial situation can seem overwhelming, but it is essential to keep in mind that every step, big or small, you take towards creating a plan will be beneficial in the long run and help us combat some of the obstacles that women face when it comes to savings and retirement.

Written by:

Victoria LeBlanc

Branch Practice Manager

Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.


Investment Advisory Serves offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

2081 SE Ocean Blvd., Ste 1B

Stuart, FL 34996

Office: 772.283.9988 Fax: 855.626.6026

Email: Victoria.LeBlanc@raymondjames.com

*Source: https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/publications/women-and-retirement-savings.pdf Any opinions are those of Victoria LeBlanc and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Raymond James is not affiliated with nor endorses ThePowHerHub.