Saturday, March 5, 2016
Priorities for Women
Four reasons your plans need to consider gender
Michelle MacDonald, Envision CU, Abbotsford
utting some time and thought into your financial future is a fantastic way to celebrate International Women’s Day this year.
Although the basics of financial planning are the same no matter your gender, women face unique lifestyle and economic issues that require special consideration.
Here are just a few examples from Jennifer Flentge, investment specialist at Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union:
Women usually live longer.
Recent data from Statistics Canada put women’s life expectancy at 83.3 years while men tend to average 78.8 years. Most Canadian retirees live on $2,400 a month—so this extra 54 months of life expectancy means that women need to have approximately $130,000 more saved for retirement than their male counterparts.
Women are multitaskers.
Although both genders face a swarm of competing priorities, it’s typically women that attempt to plan for everything at once by balancing the goals of retirement planning with college funds, vacation savings, rainy day expenses and more. The ability to prioritize these competing goals well (plus the art of time management) can have a major impact on the success of your financial plan—especially now that women are quickly becoming the primary investment decision-makers in their households.
Women are still the primary caregivers in Canadian households.
Our social role as nurturers can be costly in terms of earning potential outside of the home. As we age, we often take on caregiving responsibilities for aging parents, too. And our ability to absorb this loss in income requires a strategic and disciplined investment and savings plan that your financial advisor can help you build and manage.
Women need to protect their wealth and legacy.
Many women now marry in their 30s and 40s when they’ve already built up a career, net worth and major assets. As a result, serious consideration should be given to both pre-nuptial agreements and, at minimum, an updated will and power of attorney (especially if you have children). A will lets you identify legal guardians for your children and protect what you’re leaving them.
The bottom line? According to Flentge, if you don’t already have a clearly prioritized savings and investment plan in place, get started on one right away with your trusted advisor.
“It’s never too late to focus on becoming financially independent,” concludes Flentge “It’s essential that all women take ongoing measures to protect their current wealth, their retirement plans (which should include continued investing—you need to plan to fund at least 20 years of expenses) and their legacy.”
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