Financial Planning for Women

Women face unique challenges in life and in retirement. Whether they’re juggling career and family responsibilities, making a difference in the communities where they live and work—or all of the above—women tend to aim high and deliver. But in doing so, women, as a group, often put the goals and objectives of others before their own needs.

In this video, we walk through the basics of achieving financial well-being as a female transitioning through all stages of life. Key learning objectives include:

  • The power of compounding
  • How to balance current needs and long term goals
  • How life disruptors can impact your financial goals

As women, we will encounter many of the same worries as men: outliving assets, not saving enough, not investing well enough, needing long-term care, becoming disabled, losing a spouse, or falling victim to a scam. However, the life path, types of careers, patterns of work and experiences of women during their lifetime can make retirement security more elusive. Below is a summary of the top 5 hurdles we face:

  1. Equal pay has been the law since 1963 but today women continue to earn less than men. Overall, we have lower career earnings due to lower wages, fewer years of paid work before retirement, and a greater chance of having worked part-time. As a result, we have lower balances in employer-sponsored 401(k) and other defined contribution plans. 
  2. Women tend to invest their retirement portfolios too conservatively. While it is usually best to avoid excessive risk, being too conservative can hurt over the long haul because it might cause you to forego the growth opportunities you need to build a retirement nest egg.
  3. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 9 out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives. Factors contributing to these figures are spouse’s death, divorce and the fact that, on average, women outlive men. 
  4. Women are more likely to assist with caregiving needs than men and less likely to have a family caregiver if they need help. An estimated 66% of caregivers are female, and their average age is 49. Taking time off to provide care for a loved one can disrupt a woman’s sustained accumulation of retirement funds. Even if she has accumulated assets, caregiving responsibilities may require her to spend them prematurely.
  5. Women have longer life spans. According to the Social Security Administration, at age 65, women can expect to live an average of 21.5 more years and men an average of 19 more years. * That’s a long time to go without a paycheck! This means women need more money to achieve the same standard of living in retirement and must make the money last longer. 

Take Charge! The first step is to recognize the unique financial challenges we face and to meet these challenges, we should:

  • Take an active role in our finances
  • Start saving and investing as early as possible
  • Carefully consider investment options and implications of being conservatively invested over a long period of time
  • In making career and job choices, consider the employee benefits available in the industry and company. 

*Source: Social Security Administration:, accessed January, 2020.

Client Centered

Finding the right advisor and having a financial plan can help prepare women to deal with some of the unexpected challenges we are all likely to face at some point in our lives. Working with a skilled financial advisor who takes the time to get to know you and your financial situation can help:

  • Establish a financial plan to help you manage your path to retirement

  • Conduct an investment review to determine what you own and what steps you take in an effort to maximize returns and manage risk
  • Evaluate what you could be doing differently from a financial and investment point of view that might be more tax advantageous
  • Determine what type and how much insurance you need
  • Develop an educational funding strategy for your child(ren)
  • Better enable you to plan for unexpected life situations that may arise