It’s tough being a woman sometimes. Women get paid less than men for doing the same work. Girls’ toys cost more than boys' do. Even our razors and shampoo cost more. Those systemic problems aren’t exclusive to shopping though, they also transfer into other realms of personal finance.
Now, we do generally believe that male and female clients want the same things. From what we've observed, all of our clients want a thoughtful financial advisor that listens and provides advice that is tailored to them. There’s absolutely no need for pretty, pastel colored reports or exclusively “safe” investments. What women do need is the guidance to take control of their financial situation and to know what obstacles to look out for that we, exclusively, can run into.
This means that even if you’re happy having someone else handle the finances in your current situation, the odds are that you will need to do it yourself at some point. Trust us, you do not want to be learning how to pay the bills for the first time when you are elderly, less able to work and grieving. Also, divorce over 50 is on the rise and research shows women are less likely than men to get married again (or to even want to).2,3 If you want to do yourself a favor, start paying attention to what goes on in your home when it comes to money, so you can be prepared in case you need to do it on your own.
This is for various reasons, mostly around caregiving. These gaps of not being in the workforce can often translate into fewer years of saving money for retirement and less confidence when it comes to investing. Also, this unpaid work can be physically and mentally exhausting. It is really important for caregivers to take care of themselves too – and that includes looking at how not working impacts their financial health. If you plan to re-enter the workforce, you may want to supercharge your savings and think about how much risk you are willing to take with your investments. If you aren’t returning to work, you will want to take a look at the big picture and map out a plan for how you’ll achieve your savings goals (possibly by budgeting), so you don’t risk outliving your money.
Traditional financial advisors haven’t been known for treating women exceptionally well. Research shows 70% of widows actually end up leaving their husband’s financial advisor once they are on their own.5 Finding a financial advisor who you feel confident will help you define and reach your goals, and with whom you can communicate with directly and honestly, can be the key to your personal financial success. Never forget that working with an advisor is a relationship, so it’s important to feel comfortable with yours and if you don’t, keep looking until you find someone you can talk to openly about your hopes and concerns. With planning and guidance, there is no reason the world of finances has to be run by men. Remember, who run the world? GIRLS.
1 PRB: “Around the Globe, Women Outlive Men” by Population Reference Bureau, September 1, 2001 https://www.prb.org/aroundtheglobewomenoutlivemen/
2 MarketWatch: “Why divorcing over 50 can be especially awful” by Mary Ann Ferreira, January 7, 2018 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/divorcing-is-hard-why-divorcing-over-50-can-be-even-worse-2018-01-03
3 Pew Research Center: “8 facts about love and marriage in America” by A.W. Geiger & Gretchen Livingston, February 13, 2019 http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/13/8-facts-about-love-and-marriage/
4 Oxford Academic: “Explaining the Gender Gap in the Caregiving Burden of Partner Caregivers” by Joukje Swinkels, Theo van Tilburg, Ellen Verbakel, & Marjolein Broese van Groenou, April 3, 2017 https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/74/2/309/3097902
5 Financial Pro: “Widows’ Voices: The Value of Financial Planning” by Kathleen M. Rehl, Carolyn C. Moor, Linda Y. Leitz, & John E. Grable, January 2016 https://www.financialpro.org/pubs/subs/journal/docs/2016/JFSP0116_53-60.pdf
Please note: Financial advice should be tailored to individual circumstances. The stories shared are based on personal experiences and should not be viewed as recommendations. Any specific applications and services noted are not necessarily endorsed by John Hancock or any of its affiliated businesses.
Advisory services offered through John Hancock Personal Financial Services, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Boston, MA 02116. 888-955-5432.
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