Women are at a Disadvantage When it Comes to Financial Planning

by : Kent Irwin

Women Face Unique Financial Challenges. If you were to guess which issue women worry about most, would you guess family, health, time, stress, or maybe equal rights? According to a March 2000 gallop poll, the answer is their finances. This response may surprise you now, but consider the following list of financial issues unique to women.

Consider these results from a women-and-money incubator, and research by Bruce W. Most and William L. Anthes:
- "Women are more intimidated than men about financial issues
- Women earn less money than men
- Women are less prepared for retirement
- Women receive smaller retirement benefits
- Women live longer than men
- Women are poorer in retirement than men
- Women are more conservative investors than men"

We would also add
- Special difficulties for single mothers
- Women caring for elderly parents
- High-deductible health insurance plans cost women more
- Women may defer to men regarding financial decisions
- More women manage daily family finances
- Retirement issues because of divorce agreements
- Male-dominated financial services industry

Earnings Differences
It is a well-documented fact that women earn less than men do. A study by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation as reported by Ellen Simon {AP}:"Women make only 80 percent of the salaries their male peers do one year after college...10 years after college, women earn only 69 percent of what men earn...Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings," the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained.

Most and Anthes report that "According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women working full-time, year-round, earn roughly 74 percent of what men earn... (and) workers in the age category of 45