On August 26th we celebrated Women’s Equality Day, making this the perfect time to address women and finances. As roughly half the world’s population, we cannot afford to leave female investors out of the financial conversation. The traditional model of men running the family finances is shifting, as now 96% of women have either primary or shared responsibility for their family finances.

Some Brief History

  • 1848 – Married Woman’s Property Act passed in New York. The Act significantly altered the law regarding property rights granted to married women, allowing them to own their own property. It would be another 52 years before it passed in all states.
  • 1974 – Equal Credit Opportunity Act passed. Until then, single, widowed or divorced women were typically required to have a male cosigner on credit applications, regardless of income level.
  • 1981(gasp) – Supreme Court case Kirchberg v. Feenstra. Before this husbands had a legal right to unilaterally take out a second mortgage on property held jointly with his wife.

The 21st Century Woman

While there is still a long way to go, women have made significant strides in the business world, bringing in more income, holding higher positions, and upping their entrepreneurial game. With increased wealth comes not only the opportunity, but the need for women to look out for their financial futures.

Here are 5 reasons women need to take charge of their finances:

  1. Women live longer than men. More than 44% of women over 65 are widows, and the average widow outlives her husband by 14 years. That’s a lot of years to plan for.
  1. Women tend to favor savings accounts. Whether it is due to a lack of stock market knowledge or reluctance to talk numbers, women tend to keep more money in savings accounts than men, missing out on market gains and earning substantially less than one would in an investment account.
  1. Women earn less than men. Due to the wage gap, a woman needs to work longer to make the same amount of money as her male counterpart. Earning less income reduces retirement income including Social Security as well as retirement accounts. Combined with living longer, this can lead to a large retirement funding gap.
  1. Women put family first. Women are more likely than men to put their career on hold to raise children, or take care of ailing family members. This puts an additional strain on savings power due to reduced income and waiting longer to invest.
  1. Financial knowledge, equality, and independence. With the plethora of challenges women face today, making sure their finances are on solid ground is crucial. It’s important to be able to leave a bad job, relationship, or housing situation without needing to depend on others for financial help.

How We Can Help

At GGM, we recognize and embrace the expanded role women are taking with their financial futures. We work hard to foster meaningful relationships with our clients, to fully understand their financial goals, and develop a clear path to success. We help clients navigate the complexities of finance with integrity, putting their best interests first while providing clear guidance and a superior client experience.