Women’s History Month: The CFO of the Family Gets a Financial Checkup

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#MoneyMonday

In the year 1987, the United States Congress passed Pub.L.100-9 designating the month of March as women’s history month. Prior to that resolution, women’s history was only celebrated for one week which commenced in the year 1981.

I pause on this Money Monday to recognize the financial contributions of women; because without them, our financial literacy narrative would be flawed. Here’s how I know that: whether you grew up or were reared in a two parent family home, by grandparents or by aunts, uncles and cousins, it is most likely the first Chief Financial Officer (CFO) you ever met in your life was your mother or a woman.

While your father or the males in your life may have been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of your home, the person who managed the house resources was most likely a woman. A Bank of America financial study conducted in 2022 revealed that 94% of women believe that they will at some time in their life be responsible for their own finances. Let’s examine two critical areas of concern.

Retirement Savings

Perhaps the number one financial concern for women is saving for retirement. What’s troubling about the finding is that one out of five women approaching retirement have a retirement plan. Additionally, 57% of women do not know how much they need to save in order to experience a comfortable retirement. How about I add some “color” to the picture? Black women earn less than their white counterparts, and tragically most are employed in industries that do not provide an employer based savings plan according to a study conducted by the Institute for Women Policy Research.

Employment Choices

Women often face the unique conundrum of having to choose between employment or staying home to raise kids and provide family caregiving responsibilities. These choices put women at a distinct disadvantage in several additional ways. For example, while away from the job she may be passed over for promotions, opportunities or salary increases. In fact, would she be returning to the same job or have to find another lower paying one? Given these systemic inequities, women’s struggles are real when it comes to finances.

The Fixes

Let’s start with some good news! Women may be on the verge of an inheritance boom given their aging baby boomer parents and the fact that, on average, women outlive their men. But, let’s not bank on that and address some proactive financial improvement steps.

  1. Build Credit

Take an active interest in developing and maintaining good credit. Financial experts often indicate that credit is one of the financial foundations to success and financial security. This is not to suggest a divide in relationships, but you should know that there are an estimated 26 million Americans–male and female–combined, who are considered “credit invisible”. That is, they have no credit history or perhaps their credit file is so limited, that they cannot be assigned a score. Meaning, they are considered “unscorable”. For those who face this particular challenge, consider taking credit building steps to improve your financial security.

       2.  Get intimate with your finances

Women should become very much familiar or acquainted with their finances. Check your bank statements monthly if not weekly online and become familiar with your spending habits and other transactions. Do you have a spending App? Sign up for reminders to help you when trying to stay within your budget.

3.  Find yourself a financial advisor

Find someone you can speak with about finances. You owe it to yourself, to become wise concerning financial matters. Perhaps you may want to consider purchasing books on money, listening to podcasts or joining an investment group.

While this article highlights women and finances, there are lessons here for men and those in relationships. Since the days of Moses, women have played significant roles and made financial sacrifices for the benefit of others. How about giving them recognition during this women’s history month?

THAT’S WHAT’S UP!

Today’s what’s up is about identifying your bad financial habits. Paying the minimum balance on your credit card; paying your bills late; ignoring your credit score and impulse shopping. These are just a few of our bad financial habits. Your homework this week is to identify your habits and send me the one habit you want to break .
Ruthven@give2getrich.com. I’ll provide some solutions next week to the most common habits received. And that’s what’s up!

Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2023. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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