It’s been tough for everyone trying to hold onto their jobs during the pandemic, but it’s been especially hard on women. Four times as many women as men dropped out of the labor force last September alone — roughly 865,000 women compared with 216,000 men, according to research from the Center For American Progress. The Washington Post wrote in late July that the coronavirus crisis has set back an entire generation.
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This doesn’t bode well for women’s financial futures. And while a financial advisor can’t singlehandedly repair the damage of the pandemic and its mishandling, they can help us navigate our way out of this mess we did not cause. Even if you weren’t displaced in your career by the pandemic or the accompanying recession, women should feel encouraged to look into retaining a financial advisor for a variety of reasons including the advancement of women at large. The financial industry has improved, but it’s still something of a boys club. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women represent just 31% of U.S. financial advisors. Only 23% of women are CFP professionals.
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It’s high time that women crashed this stag party once and for all — especially now that COVID-19 has cost many women their careers. GOBankingRates talked to a number of women advisors to learn the top reasons why women should seek their services now. Find out why you should find an advisor for your needs.
Women Live Longer Than Men
Women have a longer life expectancy than men, and this pattern holds even in cases of COVID-19, with research showing that more men are dying from the virus than women. For this reason alone, women need to have a firm grip on their financial situation.
It might sound bizarre to younger generations, but a 2018 report from UBS found that 56% of married women leave investment and long-term financial planning decisions to their husbands, while 85% of wives believe their spouses know more about financial matters than they do.
“Women need to be able to understand their finances and be able to provide for themselves,” said Tricia Rosen, CFP, principal, Access Financial Planning, LLC. “The right financial advisor can help women plan for their retirement years with confidence.”
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A report from staffing firm Randstad US, published earlier this year, found that 57% of women say they’ve never negotiated with an employer over pay. A financial advisor can help lay out the big picture around what you could and should be earning in your job — and how to get what you’re worth. This could be quite useful if you’ve had to take time off during the pandemic and are now looking for a new position.
“The right financial advisor would be able to be an independent sounding board for career-related decisions, especially if the financial advisor has other clients in the same industry,” Rosen said.
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Women Are Better Investors
“Women on average are more successful investors than men because they are more thoughtful and less reactionary with their decisions, however, because men are on average greater risk-takers, men are more likely to participate in investing to begin with than women,” Rosen said. “The right financial advisor can help a woman feel confident in getting started investing which will enable her to have greater financial successes. A little bit of knowledge can have a significant impact on a woman’s confidence when it comes to getting started with investing.”
Women Whose Partners Control the Money Need Insight
“The right financial advisor can help a woman feel like an equal partner in the financial management of their household,” Rosen said. “Oftentimes one partner will manage the finances and the other partner will not be aware of what decisions are being made or why they are being made. The right financial advisor will take the time to help the less confident partner understand the jargon, terminology and the pros and cons of their financial decisions.”
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New Moms Must Update Their Financial Policies
Whether they continue working, stay at home or do a combination of both after having a child, it’s critical that women reexamine their life insurance policies and other financial planning, said Kateri Turner, CFP, financial advisor, GEBA Wealth Management.
“Consider that just 56% of women have life insurance,” Turner said. “The costs of raising a child – last reported at averaging $233,610 through the age of 17 – falls on both moms and dads; even if you already have a plan, a new baby means it’s time to reevaluate your policy’s size, scope and beneficiaries.”
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Now Is the Time To Update Estate Documents
Death is often regarded as a taboo and morbid topic, but we are living through a pandemic and a lot of people are dying when they weren’t planning on it. In the event that “something bad should happen,” as the saying often goes, it’s important that your wishes for your estate are met. This is of vital importance if you have children or pets, and a financial advisor can help you navigate the correct paperwork to make sure your wishes are fulfilled.
“The right financial advisor will let a woman know when she has risk in her financial life that she may not be aware of,” Rosen said. “For example, if she doesn’t have estate documents in place but she has minor children, the courts will decide who would care for the children in the event the parents died prematurely.” It may not be the same choice the parent(s) would make, but estate documents would make sure her wishes were followed.
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Women Are More Likely To Put Their Work on Hold for Caregiving
“Women tend to be more willing or more able to interrupt their earnings and 401(k)s to take care of children and loved ones, so we wind up with less retirement money by the age of 65,” said Pam Krueger, founder and CEO of Wealthramp. “In fact, three in five caregivers (61%) are women, according to the latest AARP and National Alliance for Caregiving report.”
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You’ll Walk Away With a Map To Meet Your Long-Term Financial Goals
Ultimately, a financial advisor’s job is to give you a holistic understanding of how money plays a role in all parts of your life and how you can best take control of the reigns. The learnings you gain from a financial advisor should help empower you to feel confident about your financial situation, both in the present and the future, while inspiring you to stay focused on your goals.
“The right financial planner will help a woman get a comprehensive, big picture view of her goals and how to take steps to meet those goals,” Rosen said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose track of longer term goals, but studies have shown that intentionally creating a goal increases your chance of successfully meeting that goal.”
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