This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Prudential all opinions expressed are my own.
When it comes to financial issues, I have never been one to handle that chore in our household and family. Ever since my fifth grade math teacher put me on blast for getting a 40 on a math test (she hung a big sign on the door outside the classroom with all the students test scores ) my confidence in my ability to understand and handle great “big numbers” has been a task I have relegated to my better half. Believe me, I know that this behavior has me harkening back to a 1950’s housewife and it is not something I am proud of- but I simply don’t have confidence in my math skills and it has certainly played a major factor in my forking over financial responsibilities to my spouse. My husband, who is the antithesis of me when it comes to numbers and is 15 years older, has happily shouldered the financial burdens and matters, and I know he has been diligent about saving for our retirement and our kids’ college funds are well planned out.
But here is the truth-I am a 43 year old woman, married to a 59-year-old man and even I can do the math when it comes to the fact that, based on our age difference and the statistical fact that women outlive men by an average of 5-6 years1, that equation is not in my favor.
I, like many women, have left the financial decisions to my husband. And although we live well now and he assures me we will have enough money to retire and live out our lives together, I am worried about our financial future.
Although I own my own business and work fulltime, I will never have the earning power of my husband, whose profession yielded a higher paycheck. Additionally, the reality is that, statistically, women tend to make less. The average woman working full-time earns 79% of the income earned by her male counterpart.2 This is because of many issues – lower likelihood to negotiate salaries, time out of the workforce, differences in pay. On average women’s have 30% lower retirement balances than men3. In my field I don’t have a 401K. But even if I did, the wage gap not only impacts women’s 401K balances over their lifetime, it also impacts their social security payments. Predictably, women’s social security benefits are 27% lower than that of their male counterparts4.
I also do not have a lot of free time because I am busy with my career during the day and when I am done with that, I am taking care of the house and kids. On average, women in the U.S. spend 28 hours per week on household chores – 65 percent more than the average for men.5 That is uncompensated work and it does not figure into women’s financial planning. Prudential has created a tool called the “Value of all you do” that lets you very quickly quantify the value of all the household chores you do on a daily basis. What you would need to pay someone to do those for you. But 44% of women have no life insurance. Even among the ones that do own life insurance, most are underinsured6 Odds are I will outlive him but what will he do if he outlives me?
That brings me back to my original question of whether I will be OK when he is gone. I have never invested and I have left all to my husband. And after being a part of the Prudential #OwnMyFuture program, I have come to the cold hard realization that I need to make the time and learn the basics about money and investing. My husband seems to feel like he has it all covered – I know that it is high time that I know the difference between a bond and a smallcap or aggressive vs. passive investment. Because yet another statistic is that women don’t invest to the same degree as men. 7 Women’s discomfort with investing comes at a high cost for them: They are apt to delay investing, invest more in lower risk, lower return investments and are more likely to run out of money in retirement.
So I hope, like me, you will not allow yourself to be yet another statistic and you will take charge of your financial future and get involved, get in the know, and get started because your financial life depends on it. Go to the Prudential website to get started, and find a financial advisor near you to help you start owning your future!
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis; National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Hyattsville, MD. 2016
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables Table P-40: Women’s Earnings as a Percentage of Men’s Earnings by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2016
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis reflecting defined contribution plan balances of Prudential record-kept plans as of December 31, 2015
- Source: Social Security Administration, Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2016
- Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, October 2016, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=54757
- Source: LIMRA study, Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Person-Level Trends: 2016