July 2017

Women and Investing

Author: Brenda Blisk

Women investors face many challenges to building wealth and securing their financial futures. As women have taken more responsibility for their long-term goals and financial health, advance planning is especially important. By making time to create a financial plan and goal-centered financial strategies—with guidance from professionals—women can more effectively overcome the financial odds stacked against them. Here, we explore literacy, longevity, life changes, and legacy:

Literacy
Women earn less than men in virtually every occupational category, making it more challenging for them to build wealth. While there are many contributing factors, smaller paychecks and more time out of the workforce are two major causes of this disparity. Research also shows that women are more likely than men to be caregivers to their parents, children, and other relatives. This reduces their time in the workforce and the time they spend earning a living. Increased time out of the workforce results in lower lifetime earnings, less retirement savings, and less pension savings, compared to their male counterparts.

Preparing for the future is one of the most important aspects of financial management, and a lack of involvement leaves women potentially exposed to financial hardships later in life. Don’t expect your spouse, partner, or other family member to ensure your financial security. You must take an active role in your financial future.

Engage your husband, partner, spouse, or other family members in regular discussions. This way, everyone is kept informed of important financial plans and future goals. These discussions don’t have to revolve around worst-case scenarios. A fun activity can be to dream together about future goals or retirement plans. To help foster financial wellness in future generations, we encourage you to bring your children into the conversation. Ideally, they will openly talk about and understand the family legacy and your estate plans.

Longevity
Based on life expectancy research, on average, women outlive men. Losing a spouse is heart-wrenching, and in a family where the husband manages the finances, a widow might need to quickly take control of family accounts. Without planning, this transition can worsen an already stressful situation and lead to costly errors.

Life changes
Divorce is a painful transition for a family to endure, and switching from a dual-income to a single-income household brings many financial challenges. Divorced women might become solely responsible for their earnings, savings, and retirement planning. As many women have found, there is life after a divorce; however, it is critical to anticipate and plan for its potential effects on their savings and retirement goals.
Major medical expenses can also wipe out retirement savings, but there are many strategies to help avoid outliving your money. Make plans to help ensure you can take care of your medical needs without adversely affecting your retirement lifestyle or becoming a financial burden on your family.

Legacy
One of the rewards for hard work and effective wealth management is the joy of providing for your loved ones and the causes you care about. In our business, we have found that, as individuals and couples move into retirement, they begin to think more practically about the legacies they want to leave behind. With women commonly outliving their spouses, they are increasingly responsible for the final disposition of family assets. As a result, it is important to discuss in advance your family’s estate-planning goals.

One of the greatest gifts you can leave your family is a life well lived—one full of love that serves as an example to others. While you take steps toward controlling your financial destiny, remember that the women in your life will look to you for support in their financial lives. As part of your legacy, you can pass down the awareness of a female’s need for building financial wellness throughout life. By setting this example and building a legacy that reflects your values, you can focus on leaving the world and the people you care about a little better than when you got here.

Brenda Blisk, CFP®, is CEO of Blisk Financial Group and resident of Berkeley Hall. She is named as one of Barron’s Top 1200 Financial Advisors for 2017. An investment professional since 1986, she enjoys assisting a select clientele in creating a life of significance.

Spire Wealth Management, LLC is a Federally Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Securities offered through an affiliate, Spire Securities, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC.

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