Women and money; Unique financial challenges

It’s a well-known fact that women face unique challenges when it comes to money, from a longer life expectancy, to a lack of financial knowledge, to a gender gap in the workplace impacting their financial planning.

A literal need to save more, spend lesswomen and money

According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, women on average can expect to live five years longer than their male counterparts. The average life expectancy is 77 and 82 for males and females respectively.

Five years may not sound like much in these terms, but when you look at saving for your retirement, that is a significant gap to fill. A recent study by RBC shows that women in particular are unprepared financially for retirement, even though they express worry about “running out of money.”

“Women face greater financial challenges than men. More women than men are single parents, and have to balance the household budget on one income. More women than men take time off from work to raise children, potentially delaying or deferring their climb up the career ladder.,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

“Given these unique challenges, it is essential that women embrace their financial future by being aware of their options, and address their specific needs- both in terms of achieving goals today, and saving for tomorrow, to reduce financial vulnerability as they age,” says Schwartz

Here are some ideas on how to overcome some specific financial challenges facing women:

Pay Gap

According to the Canadian Labour Congress, on average, women make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men.

While women can’t necessarily close that pay gap on their own, they can take steps to manage their own money effectively- that is to do more with less.

That means, during the working years having a solid budget, minimizing the use of credit and including a seamless savings plan from each and every paycheque.

Financial Literacy

There have been a number of studies that show that women lag behind men in financial literacy. This may be because of a lack of experience (i.e. in households where men manage the money) or because of a lack of confidence (from a lack of knowledge in the subject matter).

A basic understanding of financial concepts is an essential framework for setting up a financial plan, and achieving short and longer term goals, like being debt free, home ownership or saving for a child’s education or retirement.

Commit to learning a few concepts at a time. Research online. Use Consolidated Credit’s Debt Learning Centre. Develop a relationship with a banker or financial advisor. Attend seminars in your community. There are a number of ways to learn about your own personal finance. The more you know, the more solid your planning will be.

Have you begun saving for your retirement? Do you feel like your life presents a number of financial challenges that are making you rely on debt? It’s time to develop a plan to pay that debt down. We can help. Give one of our credit counsellors a call at or check out our free online debt analysis.

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