retirement planning

Financial Planning Mistakes by Women

Financial planning for seniors is not a one-size-fits-all formula, especially when it comes to gender. For many women, financial planning is a daunting task that poses risk in the long term if overlooked. But there is one key strategy that could help close the gap, that so many are missing out on.

Are women different when it comes to financial planning? The unequivocal answer is: Yes. Existing national studies show that women are more likely than men to say they have difficulty making ends meet, dealing with unexpected expenses and saving for retirement. They also are more likely to express a lack of confidence in their ability to achieve financial goals. Now the latest numbers on financial literacy highlight the difficulties women face in acquiring the knowledge to overcome these hurdles.

According to a study by Fidelity, women save 9.0% of their salary annually, yielding an average of 6.4% annual rate of return. In contrast, men save 8.6% of their salary annually, yielding an average of 6.0% annual rate of return. However, a breakdown by demographic of the average U.S. savings account balance found that households headed by men save an average of $35,000 per year, while households headed by women save an average of $17,000 per year. Median values are even more skewed: male-headed households save $9,200 per year, while female-headed households save $2,500 per year.

So what are the lifestyle differences affecting women’s ability to effectively save for retirement? Financial planning for women, many times looks much different – and more challenging – from financial planning for men.  Some of these unavoidable challenges include:

  • On average women in the U.S. live longer lives than men, therefore their money needs to go further.
  • Women also spend much more of their life caring for children and family members than in the actual workforce compared to men. 
  • Women generally earn less money for the same roles as their male counterparts. On average, women earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn.
  • Women sometimes miss growth opportunities due to their lack of trust in financial advisors.
  • Women have more healthcare costs in retirement compared to men.

But there is one strategy that could help their retirement nest egg grow…


Fewer women take part in investing in the financial market, and that hurts women’s total wealth over time, thereby exacerbating the gender wealth gap. In fact, women overall invest 40 percent less money than men do according to a survey by Wealthsimple

The question here is “Why aren’t women actively investing their money for retirement?” One argument is that companies, which have traditionally been largely used to targeting men, aren’t yet effectively communicating with women. Therefore finding an investment advisor experienced with working with women is a great first step.

But there is some good news: a recent survey by Fidelity Investments found that once females start investing, they outperform male investors by a seemingly negligible difference, but one that packs a punch over time. A breakdown of the study showed:

  • Women Earn Higher Returns: Fidelity Investments client data analysis shows on average, women performed better than men when it comes to investing by 40 basis points, or 0.4 percent. At first glance this may appear to be a minor difference, but can have a significant impact over time.
  • Women Save More: Fidelity’s analysis also found that when comparing annual savings rates, women come out on top:
    • Looking specifically at workplace retirement accounts, women consistently saved a higher percentage of their paychecks than their male counterparts at every salary level. Women saved an annual average of 9.0 percent of their paychecks, compared to an average of 8.6 percent saved by their male counterparts.
    • Looking at accounts outside of workplace savings, such as IRAs and brokerage, the data showed that in proportion to their account balances, women saved more. Women added an average of 12.4 percent to their account balance, compared to 11.6 percent for men.

As you can see, despite being aces at investing, women just aren’t doing enough of it. The answer? Start investing now.

Final Thoughts

Financial planning for women, many times looks much different from men. Women have many unique needs for their future and planning and it can seem overwhelming. 

When considering hiring a financial planner, it’s important to choose a fiduciary that understands the gender gap challenges when planning for your future. The financial advisors at Johnson Wealth and Income Management are here to help make your plan seamless and tailored to your needs, both now and in the future.

Contact us here today to find out more. Our friendly and courteous staff are waiting for your call.

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