02 Aug 4 Reasons Why Women Need Estate Planning Most
Yes, gals, I’m sorry to say that estate planning is one more area in which we are most in need, and least likely to have a safety net.
Financial health is a crucial component of overall wellness, and a sound estate plan is the end goal of any financial plan – whether that plan is you and a spreadsheet after the kids are tucked in, or a fully managed wealth portfolio. You are managing your finances now, in some way, because you want to have something to pass on, especially if the worst were to happen tomorrow.
Here are four reasons why women are most in need a good estate plan as a core component of good financial planning:
1. Women still face structural obstacles in the workplace.
While the gender wage gap in California is narrower than the national average, we still only make 88 cents for every dollar earned by men (and that’s just white women; women of color earn substantially less). Additionally, according to a 2022 survey conducted by the Financial Health Network, 36% of women report that they have suffered workplace gender discrimination and 40% report having been subjected to sexual harassment there. Workplace harassment and discrimination contribute to job and career changes, which in turn contribute to financial instability and lower wages. Given this, women need better financial education and planning overall to fill in the gaps between where we are and where we hope to be.
2. Inadequate and unaffordable childcare support.
In the U.S., we have sorely deficient maternity leave policies and no public support for childcare. Seventy percent (70%) of women with children under 18 reporting reducing their hours, taking a leave of absence, or switching to a less demanding job because of their parenting responsibilities, compared with 55% of men. More than half of women with young children who work part-time or less report the desire to work more, but an inability because of the high cost of childcare. This means, over a lifetime, more women are accruing less wages, less benefits (including retirement savings) and fewer Social Security credits. Financial planning can mean the difference between having a nest egg for retirement, or your children’s care in the event that the worst happens to you, and not.
3. Women are less likely to have long-term financial investment vehicles.
In part because women in heterosexual partnerships are less likely to be wage earners, especially primary wage earners, we are less likely to have long-term investments, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, brokerage accounts, and pensions, in our own names. This can have a substantial impact on the long-term ability to manage expenses, and on who gets to decide where this sometimes-sizeable asset goes in the event of a death.
4. Women are far more likely to be the sole source of support.
Eighty percent (80%) of single parents are mothers, and sadly, one-third live in poverty. As in any activity without a safety net, minor stumbles like sudden job loss can tip a single-wage family into back-breaking crisis quite easily. Ensuring that you have sufficient emergency savings and plans in place for your disability or death are twice as important for single parents.
But never fear!! Progress is being made! In 2022, the US Women’s National Soccer Team, after many years of negotiation and court battle, at last won the fight for equal pay in their negotiated settlement with US Soccer. It’s difficult to overstate the enormity of this victory for gender equality and the economic emergence of women. We’re on our way.
But, until these obstacles are overcome, Jane Legal is here to help all women – whatever the size and scope of their financial plan – to bridge the gap between where we are now and where we are going. Schedule a free 15-minute discovery call to learn more about our Family Wealth Planning process.
This article is a service of Jane Legal PC. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a free Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been and make all the best choices for your chosen family. Begin the process by scheduling a free 15 minute discovery call today.
This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such services should be obtained separately from this educational material.