7 Financial Steps Women Should Take to Ensure They Are Financially Secure

Achieving financial independence is not just a goal but a necessity for women in today’s economy, who increasingly hold the reins of their finances. According to a 2023 Bank of America report, a substantial 94% of women believe they will at some point need to independently manage their finances. Despite this awareness, a significant gap exists between confidence and actual financial engagement, with only 28% of women feeling empowered to make financial decisions.

The urgency for tailored financial planning is also highlighted by the fact that women tend to live longer than men. Current data shows that women’s life expectancy surpasses men’s by about five years, amplifying the need for sustainable financial strategies that extend well into later life​.

Financial planning for women needs to be based on several factors such as career stage, life expectancy, and unique financial goals. It’s important to account for potentially longer lifespans and possibly taking career breaks for caregiving purposes, which can affect retirement savings and Social Security benefits. A seasoned financial advisor can help tailor a customized financial plan that considers the specific financial needs of women.

This article details critical financial steps, tailored to empower women to not only manage but thrive in their financial futures.

Navigating the financial gender gap

Did you know “Men have over 3x more retirement savings than women”?

A comprehensive analysis by Accord Consulting reveals that on average, men’s retirement accounts are significantly more robust, with women often having less than a third as much saved for their retirement.

This significant gap is not merely a matter of different saving habits but reflects broader socio-economic issues that disproportionately affect women. It is influenced by a combination of factors, including earnings disparities and career interruptions.

Archetype Consulting’s latest report also notes that the gender investment gap widened further following economic downturns, with recovery rates, also lagging for women​.

Below are some reasons behind this gap:

1. Earnings gap: Women consistently earn less than men, with estimates showing women earn approximately 83% of what their male counterparts earn. This directly affects their capacity to save​.

2. Career breaks: The gaps in women’s financial empowerment can be attributed to the career breaks women take for caregiving responsibilities. These can lead to decreased pension contributions and investment opportunities over time.

3. Investment behavior: Women are generally more conservative in their investment choices, often resulting in lower returns compared to men who might engage in riskier, potentially higher-yield investments. This behavior can also stem from being conditioned that they are not good enough when it comes to managing finances.

The need for tailored financial strategies for women

Tailored financial planning is essential to addressing the unique challenges women face and ensuring financial independence for women. Financial advisors and planning services emphasize the importance of creating gender-specific strategies that consider longer life expectancies and the potential for intermittent earning periods.

Such strategies could include advocating for higher initial savings rates for women, encouraging more aggressive investment portfolios where feasible, and planning for longer periods of financial dependency due to greater life expectancy.

This gap in financial preparation highlights the need for individual changes in how women plan and save for retirement and also broader societal shifts towards equal pay and support for career continuity for women.

Below are certain steps women should take to become financially secure:

1. Set clear, measurable, and attainable financial goals

Establishing clear, measurable financial goals is the foundational step toward women’s financial empowerment. Setting specific objectives helps create a roadmap for financial success, which is especially important given the unique financial challenges women often face.

Examples of financial goals:

a. Savings targets: Setting specific savings goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house or building an education fund, can motivate and guide financial decisions.

b. Debt reduction: Goals might include paying off high-interest debt such as credit card balances or student loans, which can free up additional resources for saving and investing.

c. Long-term investment objectives: Planning for retirement or creating an investment portfolio to fund a long-term project like starting a business.

2. Learn and incorporate financial basics

Understanding fundamental financial concepts is essential for sound financial planning. Doing so can build a foundation upon which more complex financial decisions can be based. Below are the key financial concepts that can be helpful in the process:

a. Budgeting: Learning to create and stick to a budget is the foundation of personal finance and helps track spending, save more efficiently, and plan for future expenses.

b. Creating an emergency fund: Building an emergency fund is critical; it serves as a financial buffer that can prevent debt during unexpected situations. These funds are especially useful for women as they can act as a buffer for career breaks.

c. Having a good credit score: Understanding how credit scores work, and the factors that affect them is crucial for managing and obtaining credit, which affects purchasing decisions and the ability to secure loans with favorable terms.

3. Adopt investment strategies tailored specifically for women

Implementing investment strategies devised especially for women allows them to not only grow their wealth but also protect it against unforeseen personal and economic challenges. This approach encourages a proactive stance on financial planning and emphasizes the importance of early and informed investment choices to build a secure financial future.

a. Invest in diverse investment vehicles: Investing in several kinds of investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts can cater to different financial needs and risk tolerances.

b. Risk diversification: It is essential to spread out investments to minimize risks and protect yourself against market downturns and volatility. Doing so helps ensure you are not over-exposed to a single market or sector.

c. Consideration of life factors: Planning for periods of reduced income by having more liquid savings or investing in more conservative funds during those times can help maintain financial stability.



Need a financial advisor? Compare vetted experts matched to your needs. Compare credentials and fees.

Choosing the right financial advisor is daunting, especially when there are thousands of financial advisors near you. We make it easy by matching you to vetted advisors that meet your unique needs. Matched advisors are all registered with FINRA/SEC. Click to compare vetted advisors now.

4. Protect your income by investing in different types of insurance

Protecting one’s income through various types of insurance is a critical aspect of financial planning. It can mitigate potential risks that can drastically affect one’s financial health. Below are some important insurance types that women can consider:

a. Life insurance: It helps provide financial support to dependents in the event of the policyholder’s death. Life insurance is a staple for anyone who supports a family or has debts that might otherwise burden others.

b. Health insurance: It covers medical expenses, which can be financially devastating without coverage. Health insurance helps ensure you can cover your medical expenses without risking financial stability.

c. Disability insurance: It offers income replacement in case you are unable to work due to disability. This type of insurance is crucial given that a sudden disability can affect your income without warning.

d. Property insurance: It protects against losses to property, such as homes and vehicles, which are typically significant investments.

Each type of insurance serves as a safety net in different aspects of life, ensuring that an unexpected event does not derail your financial goals.

5. Start saving for retirement as early as you can

Starting early with retirement planning is not just a good idea—it’s essential for capitalizing on the power of compound interest. The earlier one begins to save for retirement, the more one can accumulate due to the interest-on-interest effect.

Key aspects of retirement planning:

a. Understanding compound interest: In compound interest, earned interest accumulates on both initial principal and accumulated interest. This effect can significantly enhance the value of retirement funds over time.

b. Types of retirement accounts: Various accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, and Roth IRAs each offer unique benefits and tax advantages.

c. Employer-match programs: Many employers offer to match contributions to retirement plans, which can double the savings rate effectively.

d. Catch-up contributions: For those starting late, they can take advantage of catch-up contributions to retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs after reaching age 50. These contributions allow older workers to increase their retirement savings and boost their funds.

6. Adopt a robust estate plan

Adopting a robust estate plan is essential for effectively managing and protecting your legacy and financial interests. Estate planning involves more than just deciding who will receive your assets after you pass away; it’s a thorough preparation for the orderly transfer of your assets and responsibilities. This process also includes plans for potential scenarios in which you may become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.

The significance of estate planning goes well beyond simple asset distribution. It’s about ensuring that your financial wishes are precisely followed and that any dependents are adequately cared for in your absence. This may include provisions for their living expenses, education, and other personal needs, ensuring they are met even when you are not there to oversee them.

Moreover, a well-crafted estate plan offers peace of mind by reducing uncertainties about the future of your assets and the care of your loved ones. It allows you to make detailed arrangements concerning who will manage your affairs, how your assets will be handled, and who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. This proactive strategy is crucial in avoiding familial disputes and legal complications, helping to preserve your legacy as you intend.

Below are the components of an effective estate plan:

a. Wills and trusts: These are legal documents that dictate how a person’s assets should be distributed after their death. Trusts can also help manage assets during one’s lifetime.

b. Healthcare directives: These directives empower a specific individual to make decisions about a person’s medical care if they become incapacitated.

c. Power of attorney: A power of attorney appoints a person to make financial or health decisions on one’s behalf if incapacitated.

7. Build financial knowledge and confidence

A proactive approach to building both knowledge and confidence through dedicated resources, such as workshops, courses, and communities that focus on financial empowerment for women can go a long way. By engaging with these resources, women can learn about financial management and also build up their confidence. This will allow them to apply this knowledge effectively, ensuring decisions that best fit their personal and familial circumstances.

Resources for improving financial literacy:

a. Workshops: Participate in workshops that cover various financial topics that can provide practical, hands-on learning experiences.

b. Online courses: Some websites offer comprehensive courses that cover everything from basic budgeting to advanced investing, tailored specifically for women.

c. Support groups: Join communities and support groups that can offer encouragement, support, and shared knowledge, helping women feel less isolated in their financial journeys.

To conclude

The journey towards financial security is both necessary and achievable. By taking proactive steps, leveraging expert advice, and utilizing resources dedicated to financial empowerment, women can overcome the challenges presented by gender-based financial disparities. The comprehensive approach above ensures not just survival, but a thriving financial future where women not only meet but exceed their financial goals, leading to empowerment and independence.

Moreover, cultivating financial knowledge and confidence is essential. Engaging in educational workshops, online courses, and supportive communities can not only enhance financial literacy but also bolster confidence. This allows women to make informed decisions that align with their personal and familial circumstances. This way they can navigate the financial landscape with assurance and finesse.

Use the free advisor match service to get matched with experienced financial advisors who can help recommend suitable strategies that consider the financial needs, goals, and objectives of women. Answer some simple questions about your financial needs, and our match tool can help connect you with 2 to 3 advisors who can best fulfill your financial requirements.

Other posts from Paladin Editorial

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *