It was once said that, while they were both dancing, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels! The point? Women and men do many of the same things but they do them differently. And the same can be said for their money. They certainly both need a financial plan in place but, when it comes to wealth management and insurance, they have different needs.
The main reasons for this distinction? Women tend to:
1. Live longer than men. This means they need to plan for longer retirements and the likelihood that they will outlive their partners.
2. Earn less than their male counterparts. Despite various changes in the workplace, most women still do not earn top salaries and they need to plan to save, protect, and grow their wealth, especially in light of living longer.
3. Have a smaller retirement plan than most men. This can be attributed to many factors, including taking career breaks to care for children or parents, not working in the corporate world, or depending on their spouses to provide a retirement plan.
4. Have different insurance needs. Insurance for a stay-at-home mother might need to include life cover to provide for her dependants while a woman with a family history of cancer might need to look at taking out a dread disease policy.
5. Leave financial concerns to their spouses. While this is not always the case, financial decisions are often made and carried out by husbands and fathers. When a woman’s spouse dies before her, for example, she is often left vulnerable on the financial front and might need to educate herself to deal with these issues.
As a woman, what should I do?
To ensure you receive financial advice that matches your needs, you should:
1. Clearly outline your financial goals – what do you need your wealth to do? When? And for how long? Are you prepared for being on your own or for a scenario like long-term care?
2. Work with a trusted financial adviser who takes the time to understand your situation and can advise you accordingly.
3. Educate yourself. To be in control of your wealth, you must know what you need and how to get there.
4. Protect yourself. Women tend to put others first but your finances are a place where, when you put yourself first, you are actually supporting your dependants as well. Retirement planning, insurances, life policy… elements such as these will ensure that, should the worst happen, your family will survive.
5. Make sure your house is in order. If you’re married or have a partner, you need to understand their financial situation and future financial plans. Many people are scared to talk to their loved ones about money but it must be done as these decisions will affect your financial future.
With the above in mind, it is important for women to work with a trusted financial adviser who can help match their needs with an appropriate financial portfolio.