Despite setbacks suffered during the pandemic, women's financial power is expected to keep expanding as we go forward.
Now, more women are beginning to flex their economic power, and they’re starting with personal finance basics.
By 2030, women will possess the majority of the $30 trillion in assets held by baby boomers, according to McKinsey. This transition is being fueled by a 30% increase in married women handling family financial decisions compared to only five years ago. Among female millennials, a stunning 70% reported handling all household financial decisions.
Longevity plays a factor too. McKinsey says that women outlive males by five years on average. The problem is that women's portfolios contain over 30% slower-growing assets like cash and bonds, compared to just 17% for males. This tendency toward stability may cause women to fall behind as they live longer, a problem compounded by inflation.
So, whether you're currently a part of this expanding movement or just starting out, here are five things you should know as a woman.
1. Know your figures
To truly master your finances, keep various figures handy. The most vital is expenditure. How much do you spend today and plan to spend in the future? While this may sound daunting, understanding your monthly or annual take-home pay is an excellent place to start. Then you may calculate your savings.
Don't assume you'll spend less in retirement when estimating your future burn rate. Travel, health care, and simply living longer don't reduce spending as much as you might assume.
Remember the worth of all your assets, not just your retirement, checking and savings accounts. Keep all of this information in one location so you can refer to it (semiannually or annually). Online tools and financial aggregators can help you stay on top of things.
2. Plan for everything, and expect the unexpected
Nobody likes to worry about losing their job or being sick, but preparation is vital. Build a six-month cash reserve (assuming you're still building money rather than consuming from your portfolio).
Many women already have life insurance, but don't forget about disability insurance, especially if you're the breadwinner. Using a disability policy is more likely than you think. Disabilities are more likely to occur than death in a 20-year-old, according to the Social Security Administration.
Even those two policies aren't enough. Consider long-term care insurance with a property and casualty umbrella policy. Reevaluate your insurance coverage if you bought them more than five years ago.
3. Organize your finances
During the pandemic, many ladies de-cluttered their homes. But what about financial planning? That involves understanding your financial advisors and how to access all your accounts. Consider utilizing a password management program to keep track of them. Keeping this data safe is crucial in your quest to know your numbers.
Gather estate planning documents (trusts, wills, etc.) and know when to use them. You should review them every three to five years, or if major life events like births or deaths occur. Make an eldercare plan and tell your kids about it. The hit HBO miniseries "Succession" reminds us how terrible situations occur when parents become ill or incapable.
4. Form your dream team
As your demands change, assemble a team of financial confidantes. Engage reputable professionals and create personal relationships with each.
If you’re married and just one of you attends external advisor meetings, make sure the team connects with both of you. In the BCG survey, nearly one-third of women said their relationship manager treated them differently based on their gender.
Should you go for one-stop shopping? Though it sounds convenient, it rarely works. Your team should link and coordinate seamlessly on your behalf. If you inherit a squad, you may need to customize it. No matter who is across the table, you have the right to advocate for yourself.
5. Fund your faves
No matter how you became wealthy, you're in a position to make decisions that matter. Wealth is a means to an end for many women, but what is your end? What are your goals? What brings you joy?
Exploring your values is the first step to selecting rewarding investments. That's why working with a financial partner who shares your goals is a great idea. Work with someone you trust.
Giving to a favorite charity, taking a sabbatical, or investing for impact may all be possible. It simply takes strategic guidance to help you mindfully connect your financial choices with your values.