Women and Money

Recently, I came across 6 startling statistics about women and money. They’re not new statistics, in fact, they’re a few years old, but I haven’t heard most of them. I was surprised at what they reveal about how women think about money. Here’s what I mean:

1. When asked, 70% of men in one UC Irvine study felt they were entitled to “earn more than anyone else”, while a similar percentage of women said they should “earn what others earned.” But most revealing, 85% of men said they knew what they were worth. A similar number of women responded that they weren’t sure.

women-coffeeWomen aren’t sure what they’re worth? Really? I suppose an interesting study would be to find out why…is it how we’re raised? Perhaps what we are taught in school? Or are we born with this doubt? The answer is, of course, we decide what we’re worth. We choose. That means, women, it may take an extra effort for you to ask for a raise, how much to charge as an entrepreneur, or even to make the decision to become wealthy. Take responsibility for your life and how successful you are or aren’t. You’ll only be as successful as you think you will be!

2. A survey from the National Center for Women and Retirement showed that of those women who say they feel in control of their lives, 56% of them saved and invested monthly. Of the 42% who said they felt out of control, only 17% made saving and investing for retirement a priority.

To me, this says if you’re feeling out of control with your money, your life is also likely feeling out of control! Saving and investing are the easiest way to feel in control. Women entrepreneurs are investing a lot in themselves and their businesses, which is good, but they may simultaneously feel shameful around their debt and out of control. If you have more debt than income, you may want to meet with a non-profit organization to refinance your credit card debt at lower interest rates. If your credit card payments are current, it may not even damage your credit.

3. Americans save somewhere around 1% of our wages–less than any other industrialized nation.

The richest country in the world and yet we don’t save? Other countries save more than we do because it’s part of their culture and sadly, not really a part of ours. An easy way to save is put your bank account on “auto pilot” and have it make an automatic deduction from your checking account to your savings account each month. Do it first, before you pay your other bills. It’s called, “paying yourself first.” It’s an easy way to get control of your money!

4. According to a 2004 report released by the Federal Reserve, only 35 percent of single women had retirement accounts, and only 8 percent had traditional pensions.

Retirement accounts like 401k’s and IRA’s are great ways to save, because the government gives you incentives, like not taxing the income you deposit into the account, and depending on your income, it can even be tax deductible. In a 401k, your employer can match some of the funds you invest. Yet single women still aren’t opening retirement plans? That’s refusing free money!

5. Fifty-five percent of married women bring in half of the household income and 25% now out-earn their spouses.

Frankly, I wasn’t sure what percentage of women out-earned their spouses. Twenty five percent is pretty healthy and over 50% bring in half the household income. Will the number of women starting businesses at two times the rate of men, that could change a lot in a few years!

6. On average, women live seven years longer than their husbands and over three quarters of all women are widowed at an average age of 56.

Seventy five percent will be widowed at an average age of 56? (I think that’s so young!) If a woman’s average life expectancy is 85, then women could have 30 years or more to live on their own and deal with their finances. There’s also a 90% chance women will deal with their money at some point in their lives. Some women still delegate it to others like their husband or a financial advisor. Yet we know that for women to feel in control of their lives, they are going to have to save and invest. How will that happen if women aren’t involved and don’t have a good relationship with money?

Women still seem to have a hard time getting excited about managing money. Is it because the way finance is taught seems boring, left-brained, and all about numbers? I think so. As a woman, I wanted a new way to teach about money, so I created the Be Wealthy & Smart podcast.

The bottom line is this: women, be proactive and learn about money so you will be in control of your life, live prosperously, and achieve financial freedom!

Source: Stockton Women’s Network.org

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