Do not rely on the man in your life, or the future man, to provide your financial security.
With the deck stacked against you in so many ways, you must form your own plan. For the litany of challenges you face, look at what the statistics say.
*On average women earn 25% less than men. *Women have smaller pensions and social security benefits. *Women, on average, live 10 to 15 years longer than men. *Almost 1 in 4 women is broke within two months of her husband’s death. *The average age of widowhood is 56. *Over 75% of women are eventually widowed. *87% of the adults living in poverty are women. ***At some point in their lives 90% of women will be in charge of their own finances.
Now isn’t that enough to make you sit up and take notice? All is not lost however. Now for the good news, again, based on a number of studies.
** Women tend to focus on the longer term. **Women tend to make fewer investment mistakes than men. **Women earn higher investment returns than men. *Women are starting new businesses at twice the rate of men.
So, what to do? The place to start is education, no matter your age. Educate yourself on investments, retirement planning, tax and estate planning, and all those areas that will help you become a better steward of your life situation. There are a myriad of good books and websites that will help you.
Do I mean you need to become a walking talking expert in all phases of financial planning? Not by a long shot, unless you want to. For most a good overview is sufficient. After all, financial planning and successful investing is not rocket science.
After a period of time you may feel proficient enough to do a great deal for yourself, or even all of it. Or you may feel the need to retain a professional(s) for a full time, full service engagement, a one time advisory session, or any number of ways in between.
The time to start is now, because you are not getting any younger, and life is not getting any cheaper. I am convinced that each of us, women especially for the reasons cited above, must take that proverbial old bull by the horns, or, the cow by the udder, (ouch), and take the necessary steps to provide a lifetime of financial freedom and security.
*WIFE: Women’s Institute for Financial Education
**Oppenheimer Funds, 1992 Report – Women and Investing
***Business Week Investor December 1999
A Man Is Not a Financial Plan is a trademarked phrase and is used with permission of the non-profit Women’s Institute for Financial Education (WIFE.org).
Originally written and published by Steve Hood 4/2007