When I say Women’s needs are unique or different, I’m not really invoking a gender bias debate here. Trust me, Men and women are equal in competence and potential and only fools would think otherwise. However, since society has made quite a lot of efforts since the last couple of centuries to assign and enforce a different and more sacrificing role for women in society, hence as an aftermath, their financial scenario and thus, their needs have also become different. For example, women tend to earn less, their retirement savings are practically non-existent and their insurance needs are also quite different. Additionally, scientifically speaking, women tend to live longer than men, hence proper financial advice for these specific women-centric needs are imperative. Let’s look at these reasons one by one:
- Women earn less:
Even in developed countries like US, women earn 23% lesser than men and infact 5% less in an identical job! In countries like India, most women are still not in the labour force yet, toiling at home which consist of unpaid household work.
- Women live longer:
Yes, this is a scientifically proven fact globally that women live longer than men. So this in a way compounds the financial burden since they earn less but live more, hence there is need for better retirement planning for women.
- Women save less for retirement:
In the US, women have 1/3 less money than men saved up for retirement and infact less than half earning women participate in retirement planning! This is startling owing to the fact that they would go on to live more and would naturally outlive their savings faster. In order to counter this, there is a need to stay in the labour force longer, earn more and save more.
- Women exit the labour market more:
Women all over the world are seen to exit the labour market sooner or often which is a big reason for them not having a proper financial planning for retirement. The main reason behind this would be that women’s role in society is seen as a care-giver and in that role they often sacrifice their work life in order to look after young children, ageing parents, etc. If care-giving replaces her income stream, then it is a huge loss.
- Different insurance needs:
Women essentially need more long-term care insurance since they outlive their spouses most of the times. Moreover, even as housewives, women have economic value hence life insurance is also a requirement for women.
- Lack of interest:
Women are taught care-giving elements more and told that financial decisions, etc fall in the realms of men. Having internalized this since childhood, most women lack interest in financial matters and happily delegate the job to their husbands. Being absent from financial planning for themselves, women tend to suffer more in case of their spouses predeceasing them. They do not know where the key accounts are, what investment have been made, the strategy or the plan behind it, etc, etc
The above are all the reasons that make women’s financial needs different from men and most importantly, reasons why financial planning is so crucial in their case. So to all the women reading this, get out there, earn more, save more, plan your retirement and create your own destinies.