Six essential ways that women (and everyone else) can plan for retirement and a better financial future.
The financial landscape for American women has shifted for decades, and it continues to change the face, literally, of investing. Women add $5 trillion in global wealth each year, or about a third of U.S. household financial assets, and total assets controlled by women now represent between $81 trillion and $93 trillion.1 The gender pay gap in the U.S. still persists ( with little change in two decades), with women earning 82 cents to every man’s dollar. But now, nearly 30% of wives earn the same amount as their husbands,2 and in 16% of marriages, wives outearn their husbands. ,Despite this progress, 22% of women still report having little to no involvement in retirement or financial planning, according to a 2021 Fidelity Investments study. What’s more, 56% of women indicated that their husband is a better investor, while just 34% of men believed the same about their wife.4
One of the best ways for women (and anyone else, for that matter) to feel empowered financially—and to make wise financial decisions—is to create a written financial plan. The Fidelity Investments study found that those who are working with a financial professional are more confident about finances. Thirty-five percent are concerned about saving enough for retirement, compared with 54% for those who aren’t working with an advisor.
A financial plan brings together your life story, ambitions, dreams, and assets in one cohesive document. Think of this plan as a pathway to help achieve financial independence. It serves as the foundation for your financial journey, encompassing all wealth management components—investments, tax planning, trusts, and estate planning—that can help you attain your dreams. Having a written financial plan can also limit detrimental behavior and can help you avoid emotional spending.
It’s never too late to begin pondering your financial goals. Here are six ways to help power up your financial plan.
1 Boston Consulting Group, “Managing the Next Decade of Women’s Wealth,” April 9, 2020.
2 Pew Research Center, “Gender Pay Gap in U.S. Hasn’t Changed Much in Two Decades,” March 1, 2023.
3 Pew Research Center, “In a Growing Share of U.S. Marriages, Husbands and Wives Earn About the Same,” April 13, 2023.
4 Fidelity Investments, “2021 Couples & Money Study.”
5 Mary Morrissey, “The Power of Writing Down Your Goals and Dreams,” December 6, 2017.
6 Northwestern Mutual, “Planning & Progress Study 2023.”
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