While we brace for the face-punching cold coming our way, let’s reflect on the dark side of Halloween. It’s a day of mischief, where all things scary are celebrated. It is simultaneously a Hallmark holiday of truly fantastic photo ops as well as a very horrific day of all the worst things. This is still evidenced in the haunted houses we flood, the latest horror movies we watch, and the freaky home décor we purchase. Not to mention the teenagers who still trick or treat, claiming to be dressed as a Power Ranger or something when they’re clearly just wearing some sweats; that is truly terrifying.
What’s even scarier than the spooky side of Halloween is the statistics for women and money:
A study conducted in September 2015 by the Department of Labor discovered that of the 63 million wage and salaried women (ages 21 to 64) working in the US, just 44% participated in a retirement plan.
In Vanguard’s How America Saves report conducted in 2015, they concluded men have retirement account balances that are 50% higher than women’s. (Average Account for a Man = $123,262; Average Account for a Woman = $79,572)
According to a survey conducted in 2016 by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, “Women who participate in a 401(k) or similar plan contribute 6% of pay (median); men contribute 10% (median).”
In a FINRA Investor Education Foundation investor literacy quiz conducted in 2015, both men and women bombed, but the scores are worse for women; men averaged 4.9 correct answers whereas women averaged 3.8.
The summary: women participate less often in retirement plans, have insufficient account balances when we do participate, and maintain a perpetual knowledge gap in the investment sphere.
Let me first say that we ladies have come A LONG WAY from the days where we were once expected to greet our husband at the door wearing a pearl necklace and lipstick while offering him his comfiest house shoes and his favorite beverage; a gourmet dinner to be promptly served at 6p. We comprise half the workforce, graduate from college at higher rates than our male counterparts, and even weigh-in as the breadwinner in a good chunk of households. Here’s our roar, my friends.
But this blog is not about gender as much as it is about preparation. Women are more likely to outlive men, meaning we need to be prepared with more funds.
This is about getting real with where you are. Wherever you are, deal with it. Stop trying to hide it, disguise it, minimize it, repurpose it… whatever! Be here. While some of the aforementioned statistics seem bleak, the same studies I researched almost unanimously said that while women are behind, they’re more likely to get on track if they know where they’re going. So, ask yourself what you truly see for yourself in the future; and, get specific. Once you go there, talk to someone who can fill that knowledge gap for you – someone you trust. Then, you know the drill. This is where we as women are awesome: budget to make it happen. If you can get past your fear of dealing with the reality of your financial woes – then you will be unstoppable!
By: ERIN DOEPEL WIKSTROM
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