The Rise of the Female Breadwinner

More women have become economic forces with the modern workplace. All of those college degrees women are earning these days and the evolution of the family structure, along with the fact that women live longer than men, have all led to a rise in women being the primary person responsible for planning and maintaining their financial future. Mothers alone contribute almost $1 million to the U.S. economy, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 survey. Further, the Senate’s Joint Economic Committee reports that women provide nearly 40 percent of the household earnings for families with working mothers.

Women have become a major economic force, changing the modern workforce and making up 47% of all workers. Today, 70% of mothers with children under the age of 18 are working–up from 47% in 1975, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase of women in the workplace has fueled U.S. economic growth. The economy is 13.5% bigger than it would have been if women hadn’t increased the time they spent working for pay since the 1970s, translating to an additional $2 trillion in gross domestic product, according to the 2016 Economic Report of the President. What’s more, a study from the McKinsey Global Institute found that $12 trillion could be added to the global GDP, the value of all the goods and services produced in a country, by 2025 by advancing women’s equality in our society and the workplace.

Many of these breadwinner women are leading their family’s financial futures. In a recent study by Allianz Life, 53% of women said they are responsible for managing their household’s long-term savings and investments. Further, 67% of women reported that becoming more knowledgeable and involved in managing their finances made a difference in their quality of life.

Women and financial planning.

Successful businesswoman, entrepreneur, artist, mother, wife, mentor, leader, community activist: Whether for their education, career or family, women probably had a plan to help them reach their goals.  Most women have, or will, face unique financial challenges. These challenges make proactive planning and investing all the more important.

Financial concerns for women.

Women have longer life expectancy–an average of 4.9 years longer than men, which brings with it many opportunities as well as challenges–such as making sure your money lasts for all you want to do.

  • Women have higher health care costs. Long lifespans can lead to increased health care costs for women, as well as unintended stress on loved ones you provide care–which makes prudent planning even more critical.
  • Women often have to work harder at work-life balance. Nurturing your family as well as your career can lead to interruptions in your earnings arc–highlighting the need for more focus around saving and investing.
  • Women still face a wage gap. The pay gap is closing, but still exist. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, so they are likely to accumulate less wealth over their careers–emphasizing the need for a plan to maximize your worth.
  • Many women face handling their finances alone. In their later years, 80% of women will be single, resulting in increased financial responsibility and the stresses that come with it–and a need to manage your funds independently.
  • Unfortunately, 50% of all marriages end in divorce. This causes women to have to face a life they never envisioned, one filled with new paths to take and fresh opportunities for growth.

But, before they begin that, there are a few things for them to consider…

  • Establishing accounts in their own name
  • Developing a new budget and cash reserves
  • Re-assessing insurance needs
  • Continuing to save toward retirement
  • Updating beneficiary designations and estate planning documents

Working with an advisor.

When it comes to financial planning, there’s only one person who matters; YOU. This is your life, your goals, your dreams. It’s not just about saving for retirement or paying for a child’s education. It’s about having the resources and the time to accomplish your goals, and still enjoy life’s great moments. By working with a trusted financial advisor, you can access the resources and support women need to develop a personalized plan–to prepare for all that life has to offer. 

Mark Johnson is a financial advisor with Heartland Wealth Management, 3351 W Rock Creek Road, Suite 130, Norman. He can be contacted at 561.7051 or