Women have never felt more empowered than we do today. There are more female CEOs in the Fortune 500 than ever. Women are running for office in record numbers. More women are pursuing entrepreneurship. Women are earning more bachelor’s degrees than men. More working mothers are the primary or sole earners in their households. The list goes on and on.
These remarkable strides are what make the results of a recent study so staggering. The 2019 Women, Money, and Power Study, commissioned by Allianz Life Insurance Company, found that, while the past several years have put a spotlight on female empowerment, women are struggling to make progress with financial literacy. “These findings were quite surprising because women have come a long way when it comes to our roles in work and family, yet we don’t feel prepared financially,” said Aimee Lynn Johnson, vice president of financial planning strategies, Allianz Life. “This begs the question, at a time when women are accomplishing so much, why aren’t they feeling more empowered about their financial future?”
For women to achieve true empowerment, it is imperative to close the financial literacy gap. Here are some fundamental reasons why:
Women live longer
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the average male life expectancy is about 76 years, while a woman’s is a little over 81 years. That means that retirement planning is even more critical for women. Health care is another financial concern. Of the 5.3 million people aged 65 and older who have Alzheimer’s, 62% of them are female, according to a report by the Alzheimer’s Association. By the time a woman is 75 years old, there’s a 70% chance she will need assisted care at some point during her life. Rising health care costs, coupled with long-term care costs increasing at a rate higher than inflation, will require women to plan ahead financially.
Women control the purse strings
Projections indicate that women will inherit 70% of future wealth over the course of the next two generations. That excludes the increasing amounts they earn on their own. Women already own more than half of the investable assets in the U.S., and by 2030 it’s estimated that women will possess about two-thirds of the nation’s wealth. With women poised to control the majority of the assets, we owe it to ourselves to learn how to manage them properly.
Women deserve economic equality
On average, a woman today earns between 80 to 82 cents for every dollar a man earns or $9,308 less annually. Over a lifetime, this adds up to $456,092. Women tend to make less, spend an average of 12 fewer years in the workforce, and as a result, have lower lifetime earnings (which means smaller Social Security payments). By understanding how to manage personal finances, women will be better able to make informed economic decisions over the course of their lives. Also, women will have a better grasp of their worth in the marketplace. Ultimately this information can help to reduce the gender pay gap.
Women have a right to be represented
Financially literate women have the tools to grow their wealth and use those assets to contribute to causes they believe in. That includes having a more significant stake in political and social movements, as well as being able to financially back charitable causes. Closing the financial literacy gap will also allow women to support and invest in female entrepreneurs. This will help to fuel economic growth by building a broad consumer movement of support for women-owned businesses.
Investing in women’s financial literacy is the key to achieving economic and social equality. As women become leaders across the world, it’s vital to ensure that they have access to a robust and meaningful financial education. With greater economic self-sufficiency and empowerment, there are no limits to what we as women can accomplish.
Source: Forbes – Leadership