International Women’s Day is March 8th, and to celebrate, we’ve got Financial Planners Julia Chung and Sandi Martin weighing in on issues that affect women in financial matters. But don’t let the title fool you: these are not “women’s issues” so much as they are people issues, and in many cases, economic issues. And even if you have a Y chromosome, you should still find the information relevant. In fact, a big part of achieving gender equality and unlocking Canada’s economic potential depends on support from male leaders everywhere.
So why do women need financial planning?
Well, because everyone needs financial planning. But women really need financial planning, for a few reasons:
- We live longer, on average. That means more years of retirement. If you think of retirement as three or more decades of unemployment, you realize how important it is to be prepared.
- We’re more likely to become seriously ill or disabled (partly because we live longer).
- We tend to suffer financially after divorce or death of a spouse. And women 65 and over are more likely than their male counterparts to live on a low income.
- We earn less than men, on average, and are more likely to take more time away from work to raise children and care for aging parents.
- We save less, (in part because we earn less) and we tend not to be as aggressive with our investments, which limits our investment growth over the long term.
Many women approaching retirement have never examined their financial infrastructure because it wasn’t something that their generation did.I’ve met many women in banking who only ever had credit in their husband’s name, for example. Seems obvious now, but there are still lots of women that it’s never occurred to.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Women tend to be happier than men in retirement, even if we are less financially secure. We’re more likely to have a robust support network of friends and family, and more likely to seek advice and ask for help when we need it.
So what can we do?
- Find ways to earn more money
- Tackle debt and feel better about our finances
- Learn to manage our cash flow
- Make a savings plan and stick to it