This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Prudential.
Recently, some friends of mine and I went out for lunch. While we ate, one of my friends asked why I worked so much. I was caught off guard, thinking to myself, “Why do I work so much?” It came to me in a flash. I like that I contribute to the household finances and my financial future. I wanted to not only contribute but to have some level of independence with my finances. My friend said, “I’ll never understand how you and your husband do money.” The other friend turned to us both and said, “Oh I do. I even write myself a check each week. That way I know what I can spend without worrying about dipping into the savings or throwing off the check book. I went online and used a tool to determine my life insurance and use it to save money for the future.” Unlike these two best friends in the video, my friends and I talk about money pretty openly. I think it’s because we have all experienced different AHA moments when it comes to women and finances. Those moments and lessons have helped us be open and honest when it comes to handling and discussing financial issues.
Did you know?
- On average, women have 30% lower retirement balances than men1
- Women don’t invest to the same degree as men.2 Women’s discomfort with investing comes at a high cost for them: They are apt to delay investing, invest more in lower risk, lower return investments and are more likely to run out of money in retirement.
- 44% of women have no life insurance. Even among the ones that do own life insurance, most are underinsured.3
Use this helpful tool available online to find out what your life insurance needs are. We all pray it doesn’t happen anytime soon but it’s best to be prepared and know that our family will be taken care of.
- Women in the U.S. spend 28 hours per week on household chores. That is 65 percent more than the average for men. 4
Do like my friend did. Go online and find out the value of what you do and write yourself (or your retirement account) a check to get you started saving for the future.
- Women outlive men by an average of 5-6 years.5 Are they prepared financially for these years?
- The average woman working full-time earns 79% of the income earned by her male counterpart.6
In the video, they speak of the “aha moment.” The moment when we realize that it is time to make changes in our lives because of the financial gaps women face. I have had several of them. Each of them have helped me along the journey toward more financial independence, responsibility and planning for the future. I’ve also had some moments which have revealed things to me that I’m still working on.
My very first aha moment was the birth of my oldest child. Money was tight. I mean really tight. Even though both of us were working full time up until I was put on bed rest, we still didn’t have the money we needed to support our family. We had assistance. Sometimes it was help from our parents and other times it was from welfare, including health care for our newborn and WIC services. I was determined that I would never fall into those circumstances again. It was time to head back to school and work two jobs in order to get ahead.
Quite possibly the biggest event in my life to make me challenge my thoughts on finances was my divorce. I had to itemize everything we owned, along with who earned it and then find ways to create an “equitable” distribution of our money and our assets. Writing down what you have and what you owe and seeing it on paper – as well as knowing that many of those expenses are going to be yours alone for the future creates an overwhelming urge to pay attention to where you are spending and saving your money and how.
After my two younger children were born and my oldest was graduating from high school, my thoughts about our family finances once again shifted. I realized that financial aid was the only way he was going to be able to go to college. Sure, that’s how I attended college, but I was hoping once upon a time, that attending college would not be the hardship that it was for myself and my new husband. That was when we decided to make sure that a college savings account would be created for them to use in the future. It may not be enough to put them through college but it would be something to help them along the way. That decision helped and now my daughters get a quarterly statement showing them how much they have saved for college. This way, I’m not only making a difference in finances for myself but teaching them about money too.
Prudential has learned that many women don’t care for the financial services jargon and they feel time-starved and cash-strapped. So even though they take care of day-to-day budgeting, they leave out some of the important pieces of long-term financial planning such as insurance and saving for retirement, just like I did. At the time, there was no time or money to think about the future. I had to concentrate on the present. Then I had to split my retirement account with my ex-husband. I became one of the women who were investing as little as possible and not making the strides I needed to make my retirement really count, not living my mantra of saving for tomorrow. That’s where help from a financial professional like that available at Prudential could have helped me before I made too many mistakes in my retirement account.
With the accomplishment of each new goal, I find myself to be more confident. With the accomplishment of each new goal, I’m setting an example for my girls to use in the future. I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to learn and do when it comes to money, but now I’m ready to tackle the next part of my life as we explore retirement options. It’s a necessity since I am among those cited that have significantly less in my retirement fund that my husband does. I want to go on as I go now, contributing to everything our family does. Hopefully, by addressing that aspect of my financial well-being, my husband and I will be able to travel and enjoy our time together as we prepare for our daughter’s own graduation from college, marriage and grandchildren.
Do you have a great friend or family member you can talk to about what may be holding you back financially? Someone like my friends, where we can compare our experiences as well as help each other achieve our goals? Create your own goals for financial success by no longer staying silent and using the tools and information available to you to increase your efforts towards being able to “Own My Future.”
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis reflecting defined contribution plan balances of Prudential record-kept plans as of December 31, 2015
- Source: http://fortune.com/2016/05/11/sallie-krawcheck-ellevest-launch;
- Source: LIMRA study, Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Person-Level Trends: 2016
- Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, October 2016, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=5475
- Source: Prudential Retirement analysis; National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Hyattsville, MD. 2016
- Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Historical Income Tables Table P-40: Women’s Earnings as a Percentage of Men’s Earnings by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2016