Closing The Gender Wealth Gap

Most of us have heard about the gender pay gap. Women on average make 82¢ for each $1.00 earned by white male workers.

But there’s an even more serious gender wealth gap. The typical woman has accumulated only 32¢ in wealth for each dollar accumulated by men, says female finance pioneer Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest and former head of Merrill Lynch.

That’s a problem, as it often leaves women without the resources they need to support themselves and their families. Back in 1976, only one woman in twenty was the sole breadwinner in their household. By 2013, it was one in four, and today, women are “breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families with children.”

When we work with women clients, we devote extra attention to making sure they have enough resources to last them throughout retirement. Not only do women often have less, but they need more, as they tend to live longer than men and require more years of retirement income.

What can we do about it?  Here’s 3 actionable ideas for closing the gender wealth gap.

      • Support financial literacy. The more women know about personal finance, the better they can prepare for the future. Encourage frank discussions about money, careers, debt, savings, and investing with the women in your life, especially young women so they get off on the right foot and avoid costly mistakes.
      • Advocate for fair and equal pay and better childcare options and other family-friendly benefits that foster work/family balance for all parents, regardless of gender.
      • Encourage money habits that promote retirement readiness and personal responsibility. Every woman should have a Roth IRA, personal savings account or other fund she can turn to in need, and use to build a better life for herself and her family. Start saving early, even if it’s a small amount, and build up your percentage contribution over time. ❖

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