In today’s economic and cultural backdrop, more women need to seek financial advice and prepare for a secure future. It is important for women to take ownership of their financial lives. Financial independence, maintaining one’s lifestyle and the ability to meet long-term health care needs are top priorities for women in retirement.
But how do women plan to achieve those goals?
In a recent WSFS Wealth survey of consumers in the greater Philadelphia region and Delaware, only 27% of women versus 68% of men feel knowledgeable and confident about their abilities to invest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there is a five-year difference between the life expectancy of the average U.S. female and the life expectancy of the U.S. male.
This means women have a greater chance of outliving their spouse and will need to make financial decisions on their own. Because they statistically live longer, women are more likely to spend additional years in long-term care.
More encouraging, women are accumulating more of their own wealth as their role in the workforce has expanded over the last several decades. There are more women college graduates with higher paying jobs and business owners than ever before; this has led to steady employment, increasing salaries and more participation in 401(k), 403(b) and other company retirement plans.
On the flip side, women tend to assume caregiving responsibilities for their children and aging parents. This may shorten their time working outside the home, foregoing the opportunity to accumulate savings, Social Security credits and retirement benefits.
All these factors point to the need for women to focus on their current and future financial health. The WSFS Wealth study found that women are also more cautious than men on investing, with 56% of women saying they will both invest and conserve cash versus 35% of men.
Yet just 32% of the women surveyed who don’t currently use a financial advisor said they are likely to use one in the coming year versus 57% of men.
Because they want a trusted advisor to help build their wealth, an important first step to building financial confidence and wealth. When consumers choose an advisor, they’re primarily looking for a reputation of integrity (87%), transparency of fees (86%) and quality of service (84%) according to the study.
There are a few things women should think about when planning for the future:
- Get involved with understanding their own family finances; even if they don’t manage the day-to-day budget, they should understand their expenses, assets and how to access them.
- Seek advice from a trusted advisor who can teach, as well as assist, in making investment recommendations. The path to financial security begins with a solid investment plan that should be actively managed, even in difficult times.
- Know their risk tolerance; there is no blanket right or wrong level of risk, it is different for every individual. Find what works for your goals and family.
Financial advisors provide services from executing transactions to explaining various investment products, but most importantly describing the risks associated with various investments. While it may be suitable to delegate authority to a financial advisor, every investor should monitor the progress in their accounts and meet with their advisor regularly.
Taking steps now to make a financial plan, invest wisely and engage a qualified financial advisor will help women gain the financial confidence and know-how to own their financial life.
Helping you boost your financial intelligence.
Read our financial resources from your friends at WSFS.