Statistics have shown over and over, decade after decade, that men and women earn, save, spend and invest money differently.
Even though gender parity is not as drastic as it once was, women still have a long way to go.
Women have closed the pay gap slightly, from making 62% of what men made in the 1970’s to making 82% of what men make as of 2018.
Today we have female CEO’s in major Fortune 500 companies such as GM, IBM, PepsiCo, Lockheed Martin, Kohl’s, PG&E, Ross Stores, and many more.
Statistics show that a growing percentage of married women now out-earn their husbands.
A Financial Education for Women is Imperative
All of this is to say that it's imperative for women to have a financial education.
A financial education and your financial literacy is your key to provide for your retirement and avoid debt that may result in financial hardships. Many women (and men) believe that they are far more financially literate than they really are.
Here are some important stats about women and money.
Women and Money
Six (6) Important Statistics You Should Know
Women control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S. (Source: Federal Reserve, MassMutual Financial Group, BusinessWeek, Gallup)
Women control over $20 Trillion in global spending. (Source: Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, October 2010)
Over the next decade, women will control two-thirds of all consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. (Source: Mediapost, April 19, 2013; She-conomy)
Earnings of full-time female workers have risen by 31% since 1979, compared to a 2% rise in male earnings. (Source: “Women In America,” U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, 2011)
The number of wealthy women investors in the U.S. is growing at a faster rate than that of men. In a two-year period, the number of wealthy women in the U.S. grew 68%, while the number of men grew only 36%. (Source: The Spectrum Group)
The number of middle and upper income women struggling with debt has risen faster than the number of lower income women struggling with debt. (Women, Debt and Recession, CareOne Debt Relief Services)
Five (5) More Important Statistics You Should Know
Just 20% of female breadwinners said they were ‘very well prepared’ to make wise financial decisions, versus 45% of their male peers. (Source: New York Times, January 2013)
Half of that 20% indicate that they “need some help” making financial decisions, and one-third feels that they “need a lot of help.” (Financial Experience & Behaviors Among Women 2010−2011 Prudential Research Study)
93% of women say they have significant influence on what financial services their family purchases. (Source: Harvard Business Review, Boston Consulting Group Survey)
Women differ substantially from men in how they relate to investing. They don’t want to hear about the growth or comparative performance of different funds; they want information about reaching their long-term goals, like putting a child through college. (Source: Vanguard Group’s Asset Management & Advice Services Division)
80-90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives- mainly due to divorce and the fact that on average women outlive men by seven years. (National Center for Women and retirement research)
Women Live Longer
One statistic that hasn’t changed over the decades is that women typically outlive men.
When you look at life expectancy statistics worldwide, every single country that’s reported shows a longer life expectancy for women than for men.
According to the US Census Bureau, the average age of widowhood is 55 years old.
What this means is that women around the world, whether they have a financial education or not, will at some point need to make financial decisions. These decisions include decisions about the family finances, inheritances, retirement, managing the family home, and more.
If you’d like to read more about this topic, I’ve elaborated more in this blog post on Women, Aging, and Money.
Women Need Financial Literacy
A few years ago a study from TIAA-CREF showed that those with high financial literacy have double the wealth of people who don’t plan for retirement. However, those with low financial literacy borrow more, have less wealth and end up paying unnecessary fees for financial products.
Those with low financial literacy also tend to buy on credit and are unable to pay their full balance each month and end up paying more in interest. Typically, they also don't invest, have debt, and have a poor understanding of their mortgage terms or loans.
Even more concerning is that many women (and men) with low financial literacy believe they are far more financially literate than they really are.
Listen, the bottom line is this. Any improvement in your financial literacy will have a profound impact on your ability to provide for your future.
How to Increase Your Financial Literacy
So how do you increase your financial literacy? You increase your financial literacy by giving yourself a financial education.
We spend time, energy and money going to college, job training and educating ourselves. We educate ourselves on hobbies, parenting, relationships, pet ownership, and more.
Truthfully though, how much time, energy and money have you spent giving yourself a financial education? Do you read books? Listen to podcasts?
Have you studied the stock market and researched what you’re invested in through your IRA, 401(k) or 529 plans? Are you monitoring your money or are you leaving that to someone else?
Ladies, it’s time. It’s time to educate yourself financially. It’s time to raise your financial literacy.
You're Not Alone
If you don’t know where to start, I’ll help you. The first step is to set a solid financial foundation. My online course Financial Foundations for Women is a step by step program that will educate you on the financial basics that are so essential to building wealth.
In this course, we’ll talk about how your mindset is keeping you from your financial goals and how to overcome that. I’ll teach you how to set goals and achieve them.
We’ll also discuss the practical steps to raising your credit score, paying off debt rapidly (including your student loan), and investing for your future.
Other ways you can raise your financial literacy and get financial education are through books, podcasts, conferences, mentor-ship, and finding a community that supports your financial goals.
There are many, many books out there on investing, 401(k)s, the stock market, books by economists, and so much more. I’ve spent hundreds of hours learning what I’ve learned, and tens of thousands of dollars to do so. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts, had coaches in both mindset and investing, and attended seminars and conferences on these topics.
You can go to the library and check out books for free, get audiobooks from the library and read blog posts (I recommend following this blog). But if you want to be a part of a community of women supporting each other’s financial goals, then start with the Financial Foundations for Women course. It is a financial game-changer, for sure.
It's time to take action, ladies. Take your financial education into your own hands. Nobody will look out for your best interest like you will. If you didn't learn about finances in school, from your parents or grandparents, or from your peers, now is the time to change that. Resources are at your fingertips.