Affirmations are powerful. How often do we remind our friends, daughters, sisters or mothers that “you’re worth it”? These simple statements can help us reprogram our minds and create change. Studies show that words of affirmation can be powerful when used as a reminder of self-worth or as a way to create the reality we want; working toward our goals of wealth, love, beauty or happiness. How often do we remind ourselves that we too are worth it? Judging from our financial accounts, not often enough.
According to a recent report, women don’t invest nearly enough in their futures and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is, unfortunately, widening the gap. Women on average have saved only $60,000 for retirement, for instance, compared to $120,000 for men. These levels drop significantly for those impacted by the recent pandemic, dropping the average savings for women to $21,000 and men at $60,000. At first glance, the disparity between men and women makes no sense. Women are generally known to be nurturers and caregivers, so why then do we not take care of ourselves?
Below are Some Theories many experts consider when working to understand the retirement savings disparities:
The Cinderella Complex describes the unconscious desire many women have to be taken care of. In her 1981 book “Cinderella Complex” Author Colette Dowling discusses women’s inherent lean toward dependency.
Some experts attribute the desire of dependency to DNA. In the hunter-gatherer days, they say, men provided the meat and wielded the weapons, and women cared for the children and were taken care of. Evidence shows, however, that women also hunted, and all members of the tribe cared for children and the elderly.
The reliance of the “weaker sex” on a male provider seems to be a message that culture instills from childhood. Remember Snow White singing, “Someday my prince will come”? We’re taught at a young age the role of women, to take care of others, not ourselves. Is this why so many women struggle with boundaries? What we don’t seem to realize is that if we don’t care for ourselves, we won’t be able to care for those around us, physically, emotionally or financially.
Whatever the reason may be for such a disparity, it’s impacting too many of us. What can we do about it?
Enroll in automatic savings from your checking account to a mutual fund.
Pick an amount of —10 percent, say—and see if you miss it. Revisit this amount in six months, if you haven’t missed it, increase it. Keep doing this, and soon your nest egg may grow into something substantial.
If your employer offers a retirement plan, sign up and participate.
If your employer makes matching contributions, the free, matching money is all the more reason to participate.
It’s time for women to learn what men have seemingly always known: money is power and not to be feared, but embraced. This power can give us the ability to live our best lives. Whatever that means to you; having great experiences, being comfortable in your old age or making a difference for someone you care about. It all starts with taking care of yourself financially.
We are responsible for ourselves. Don’t wait for your prince charming to make his appearance, and you don’t need to kiss that frog. Instead, look in the mirror, love yourself and start planning for your future. You’re worth it. That’s right, say it out loud, YOU’RE WORTH IT!
Content in this material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
Investing in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Fund value will fluctuate with market conditions and it may not achieve its investment objective.
If you have any questions about saving for retirement, we would love to speak with you. Please feel free to reach out.