While it may be 2021, in the U.S., women are still battling to make equal wages to men. The implications of women earning less than men are more than an issue of equality; it affects their financial wellbeing and future. 

 In this article, we wanted to explore why female career advancement is so important and what it means for women’s financial future.

The obstacles

Society still perceives women as the primary caregivers of their children as well as carrying the majority of household responsibilities. What this means for women who want to get married and/or raise children is that these responsibilities demand a good amount of their time. Children get sick or have days off of school which competes with working mothers’ working hours. For employers that have expectations of the number of hours an employee should be working, this can be a big impediment to women promoting within their workplace to higher-paid positions. 

Along with these responsibilities, women often carry the mental load of planning meals, making doctor appointments, keeping track of birthdays and school events, among other things. This constant mental tracking can take its toll on a woman and cause burnout. This can make her feel as if she doesn’t have it in her to devote more to her work or seek out better opportunities. 

There is no simple solution to solving these issues. It’s a collaborative effort between society, employers, and partners or the social network of working women. But let’s look at how professional development and growth can impact women financially.

More money equals more retirement savings

Higher pay can mean a lot for individuals. One of the most impactful ways that more pay can impact a woman’s life is in retirement savings. In the U.S., the life expectancy of women is longer than that of men, which means women tend to have a longer retirement period than their male counterparts. The more that women can invest in their retirement savings now, the greater that investment can grow to create a comfortable retirement living. 

Many employers offer their employees a 401(k) contribution match program up to a certain percentage. For example, an employer will match up to 3% of an employee’s salary that they contribute to their 401(k) plan. We always encourage people to contribute as much as they can comfortable to their 401(k) and take advantage of their employer’s contribution. 

Investing in future generations

For women who decide to have children, one of the most important things to consider is their education. Children are costly, and when thinking about how you want to set them up for the future in adulthood, paying for a college education can be added stress. A 529 college savings plan is a great way to save for a child’s education, and the more you can contribute to it now, the greater the payoff will be when it comes time to pay tuition. We love showing our children the value of hard work, but we equally encourage showing them how to be financially savvy. 

The art (and payoff) of negotiation

For women pursuing career advancement, there are no greater skills to bring to the table than confidence, knowing what you’re worth, and having the courage to ask for it. If you’re up for a promotion, come prepared. Demonstrate and explain your value to your employee and do your research for the market rate for the position you’re pursuing. Don’t be afraid to aim high. The worst that can happen is they negotiate to a lower number. But don’t settle with something you’re unhappy with or you don’t find fair. Make a compelling case and have confidence in yourself that you’re worth it. 

We love partnering with women on their unique financial journeys. Whether you’ve claimed that big promotion or are going through a difficult time such as a divorce or the loss of a spouse, we want to help you evaluate your financial plan to maximize the investments that are the most important to you and your future. Contact us today to get started.