Father’s Day is quickly approaching, but before we take the spotlight off dear mom, let’s take a moment to talk about the influence of mothers–and women in general–on all things financial.
Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, recently posted this tweet: “President Obama: Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition.”
That may be a comment specifically directed toward this country’s massive health care initiative, but if you step away for a more distant view, it actually says a lot more.
Remember the Virginia Slims cigarette campaign, “You’ve come a long way, baby”? There was actually a time when women celebrated the acceptance of being able to smoke in public–a symbol of confidence that had grown with increasing independence. It’s only been in the last 30 years that women have broken the glass ceiling and been appointed to top executive positions of major corporations. Less than 20 years ago, it was still difficult for a woman to buy a house on her own. Indeed, women have come a long way.
But in the lingering words of Peter Parker’s (Spiderman) Uncle Ben, “with great power comes great responsibility.” In other words, once you start earning your own money, you’re responsible for making sure you’ll have enough retirement income. Fortunately, most women appear to have both the inherent skills and logistical experience to be quite good at financial planning and management.
According to a new study from Fidelity, it’s also true that women tend have more success in talking with their adult children about financial planning topics than fathers do. Apparently, mothers have more detailed conversations with their adult children about sensitive financial topics such as retirement income, estate planning and eldercare, and they are able to convey a more empathetic viewpoint.
Knowing the details of your financial plan may go a long way to helping you sleep at night. Do you feel like you’re in control of your financial future? Have you left this responsibility for others to plan for you?
Consider for a moment that, even if you’re married, when you (and your husband) start taking Social Security benefits will have a direct impact on how much income you will receive. Have you estimated how much you would continue to receive in benefits if your husband passes away before you? If you think that won’t be enough in the future, then it’s important to consider what other income sources are available to supplement your income.
According to the Social Security Administration, 48 percent of elderly unmarried women receiving benefits relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income in 2011, which is hard to do when their average annual benefit was $12,188.
Then again, perhaps there’s a time to take on this responsibility and a time to just enjoy the simple pleasures of being a young woman in this vast and complicated world. Which was well demonstrated recently by this charming tweet by an upcoming high school graduate: “I haven’t understood a word my mother and this financial aid woman have said in 15 minutes. I want frozen yogurt.”
If you, your daughters, or any other women you know would like to start a conversation about planning for their financial future, please contact us.
By contacting us, you may be offered information regarding the purchase of insurance products. Please note that we do not provide specific tax or legal advice. You’re encouraged to speak with your tax advisor or attorney. For questions regarding social security, you’re encouraged to contact the Social Security Administration.
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