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The Importance of Women Joining the Wealth Conversation

by Lindsey Stetson, CFP®

More than 80% of women will be a primary financial decision maker for themselves or for someone else at some point in their lives. Therefore, financial engagement should be a priority, yet it’s all too common to see women bow out of the financial conversation or, worse, never show up in the first place.

Women have a life expectancy that is five years longer than men. This, combined with the rapidly increasing rate of divorce among those over 50 years of age, means that 80% of women will be solely responsible for their financial well-being at some point in their lives. Additionally, there are currently 34.2 million Americans providing unpaid care to an adult over the age of 50 and approximately 75% of those caregivers are female. For many caregivers, making sure bills are paid, insurance claims are filed correctly, and legal documents are up-to-date and in order also falls upon them.

A recent study by UBS found that 56% of married women leave investment and long-term financial planning to their husbands. Financial advisors experience such scenarios frequently – the couple who both show up to initial meetings, but then the wife stops attending, or the recently divorced woman with too much cash in her bank account, unsure if she will outlive her money.

Even more surprisingly, millennial women are more likely than any other age group to leave investment decisions to their husbands. While this may be a function of their current life stage, i.e. balancing work, children and household duties, it may indicate a trend in the wrong direction.

Financial planning is essentially creating a roadmap to reach your goals. It’s similar to setting a goal of running a marathon – while you may be able to finish the marathon without adhering to a training plan, creating and following a plan will create clarity and confidence that your goals are achievable. Planning is a form of dreaming and serves as a chance for individuals and couples to explore their financial priorities and to be mindful of their wealth today, in the future and as a legacy.

Joining the wealth conversation can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. While it can be complex and technical, teaming up with an advisor who can break down the financial planning process into manageable pieces is an empowering experience. When questions arise, your financial plan will serve as a roadmap and your trusted advisor will be there to help you make informed decisions.

If you haven’t done so already, make financial engagement a priority in your life. There are many resources available, from books to blogs to in-person seminars to assist you in preparing for your financial future.  At Trust Company of the South, our advisors will partner with you in creating a plan for financial security and success, and walk with you along the journey, providing counsel and guidance every step of the way.