Women and Wealth

I came across the following statistics about women and wealth recently.  wealthy-woman2They’re not new statistics, in fact they’re a few years old, but I hadn’t heard most of them.  Needless to say, I was shocked to read them.  Not because women aren’t doing the right things financially (in some cases that’s true, but I was more shocked at how women think about money and act towards money).  It says we have work to do to education women about money and, in some cases, there are different things that need to be taught, in a different way than how the financial world has approached educating women.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying women can’t learn about money the way men do, I’m just saying they have different issues with money than men do.  Let me start with the statistic that shocked me the most:

When asked, 70% of men in one UC Irvine study felt they were entitled to earn more than any one 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 aren’t sure what they’re worth?  It makes sense now why I’ve met so many women entrepreneurs who have a hard time asking to be paid what they’re worth or raising their rates.  Women don’t know their worth!  Wow!  I suppose an interesting study would be to find out why…is it how we’re raised?  What we are taught about being a girl in school?  Or are we born with this doubt?  This just stuns me and saddens me at the same time.  It does explain a lot, however.  The answer is, of course, we decide what we’re worth.  We choose.  That means, women it’s up to you to decide if you will be wealthy or not, among other things.

The next statistic that surprised me was:

One 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 out of control with your money, you’re out of control with your life.  Saving and investing is the easiest way to feel in control, yet because people are in so much debt, that’s hard to realize right now.  Women entrepreneurs are investing a lot in themselves and their business, which is good, but they may simultaneously feel in debt and out of control.  What better way to get back in control than work on your finances?

This statistic is also true:

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?  Even poor countries save more than we do?  That’s tragic.  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.

This statistic surprised me:

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, and your employer can also give you free money by matching some of the funds you invest.  Yet most women still aren’t opening retirement plans? That’s a travesty.

This statistic I’ve heard before:

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

I was widowed at a young age, so I certainly understand this statistic.  But did you see it says over 75% will be widowed at an average age of 56?  If our average life expectancy is 85, then women could have 30 years or more on their own. Would you rather learn about money when you’re grieving or be proactive and learn now?

Women still have a hard time getting interested in managing money.  Is it because the way we’ve taught about finance seems boring, left-brained, and that it’s all about numbers?  I think so. As a woman, I want a new way to learn about finance, so I’m creating one.  I don’t want to look at spreadsheets or feel like an accountant and neither should you.

And finally:

55% of married women bring in half of the household income and 25% now out earn their spouses.

Frankly I wasn’t sure what percentage out earned their spouses, but it seems like a lot from my experience.  Twenty five percent is pretty healthy and over half bring in 1/2 the household income. That seems better than the studies I’ve read about how much less women earn than men.

Bottom line, women, please learn about money so you can feel in control of your life, live long, and prosper!

Source: Stockton Women’s Network.org

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