Women Should Plan for 100-Year Life

Despite strides in career advancement and financial empowerment, women still face significant obstacles when it comes to achieving long-term financial well-being. The Merrill/Age Wave study, Women & Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line, sheds light on these challenges and offers insights into potential solutions. Here’s a closer look at the key takeaways and recommendations from the study:

1. Financial Disadvantages Persist

  • While women are driving change across various spheres, they continue to lag behind in terms of financial wellness.
  • The financial services industry tends to cater more to men, leaving women at a disadvantage.

2. Confidence Gap in Investing

  • Women express less confidence in investing compared to men, with many citing a lack of knowledge and confidence as barriers.
  • Social taboos around discussing money further exacerbate these challenges.

3. Lack of Role Models and Representation

  • Media and the financial services industry often overlook the specific financial needs and preferences of women.
  • Financial planning models may not account for the career interruptions many women experience due to caregiving responsibilities.

4. Impact of Career Interruptions

  • Career interruptions, such as caregiving for children or family members, significantly affect women’s lifetime earnings and savings.
  • Women tend to spend more time outside the workforce than men, leading to a substantial gap in lifetime earnings.

5. Planning for Longevity

  • With longer life expectancies, women need to plan for extended periods of retirement and potential healthcare expenses.
  • Women typically retire earlier and with less savings compared to men, making financial planning critical.

Recommendations for Financial Wellness

  • Break the taboo around discussing money and seek support from friends, mentors, and professionals.
  • Leverage longevity as an asset by planning for a longer lifespan and potential healthcare costs.
  • Acknowledge and address the unique financial challenges faced by women, including career interruptions.
  • Start financial planning early and make adjustments as needed to stay on track toward long-term goals.

By addressing these recommendations and proactively managing their finances, women can empower themselves to navigate financial challenges more effectively and secure their financial futures. While systemic barriers may persist, individual actions and collective efforts can drive meaningful progress toward greater financial wellness for women.

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