Women and Money

by Jonyce Bullock, CPA

In February 2015, Fidelity released the results of a study on women and finances. In this study they identified several interesting findings. First, they found that women are very interested in learning more about their finances. In fact 92% of women reported wanting to learn more about financial planning, 75% want to learn more about investing and 83% want to be more involved in their personal finances within the next year. However, it appears that while we want to be involved, learn more and be proactive about our financial futures there is something that is holding many of us back. This same Fidelity study also found that only 47% of women say that they would be confident discussing money and investing with a financial professional. Additionally, 65% of women who are offered retirement guidance through their employer do not take advantage of it. (Money Fit Women Study, 2015)

What is it that is holding us as women back from jumping in and finding confidence in our financial futures? According to the Fidelity study some of the reasons that were cited included: it’s too personal, it’s uncomfortable, I was raised to not talk about finances, and even not wanting to waste the person’s time. As a CPA I have observed over the years many female family members, friends and clients express these same hesitations. I have also observed both the devastating effects of what can happen when we don’t educate ourselves and take accountability for our own finances as well as the blessings that can come when we do.

It is vitally important that we all make an investment in our finances. Consider these statistics from InvestmentNews.com:

  • Women control $14 trillion in personal wealth assets. By 2020 they are expected to control $22 trillion
  • 95% of women will be their family’s primary financial decision maker at some point in their lives
  • 37% of women are more likely than men to think they need to accumulate LESS than $250,000 for retirement
  • Women are more likely than men to end up poor: 11% of women age 65 and older are poor, compared to 7% of men age 65 and older
  • Women rely on Social Security: 57% of all Social Security beneficiaries are women
  • We don’t put enough away for retirement; only 49% of women contribute to their 401(k) plans
  • Women are four times more likely than men to be widowed; 8.7 million women aged 65 and over are widowed in the US.
  • Nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands each year. Widows outlive their husbands by an average of 14 years

Based on the Fidelity study, we can easily see this is not an LDS issue; however, I have observed that in the LDS culture, we very often assume that the finances will be handled by the men. We need to remember that we have ALL been counseled by our church leaders as well to be involved in and take accountability for our finances. “We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. … If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts” (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances).

We know that many of you in our Aspiring Mormon Women community would like to learn more about your finances and increase your confidence in your personal financial literacy. To help jump start this, we are planning each month to publish a blog post on various financial topics. If there are any specific topics you would like to learn about, please comment below or you can post about them in our fantastic Aspiring Mormon Women FaceBook group!

Additionally, if you happen to be in the Provo/Orem area, my firm is sponsoring a free monthly class titled “Legal and Financial Planning for Women Series”. These are held on the second Thursday of each month at 7 PM and will address various legal and financial topics. This month’s class is titled “Tax Time” and we will be discussing what you need to know about your own taxes, even if you don’t do them yourself. To learn more go to: https://quickbooksadvantage.com/event/basic-family-legal-planning-legal-and-financial-planning-for-women-series/

 

Jonyce_BullockJonyce Bullock, CPA is a Partner at Squire & Company, PC, one of Utah’s largest accounting firms.   She is a pioneer as the first female partner at Squire.  Jonyce holds Masters of Accountancy from Brigham Young University and is a member of the AICPA.  She is a Certified QuickBooks Advisor, Intuit Beta Tester and a member of Intuit’s Trainer and Writer Network.  In 2011 Jonyce was awarded the AICPA Women to Watch – Emerging Leader award.  She has also been recognized by Utah Business Magazine as a 30 Women to Watch leader and twice as a Top 40 under 40 Accountant by CPA Practice Advisor.

2 Comments on “Women and Money

  1. I’d love retirement planning to be addressed from the point of view of single women–and the importance of starting early, even if you think you’ll get married someday. Single women of color, in particular, are the number one category most likely to live in poverty past age 65, and white single women aren’t far behind. Too often our financial education basically involves telling single women, “Don’t worry about it! You’ll get married and rescued someday!” when the reality is that single women have even *more* reason to figure out how to manage their finances on their own early, long before retirement.

    I’m 41, and I’m just now finally able to afford to start a very modest retirement account (which has lost money in its first year). I started one when I was 30, and had to cash it out when I was laid off in my mid-30s. Despite that being a major setback to my retirement (and to taxes that year) it made it possible for me to survive that year and a half of unemployment. Now that I’m finally working my way out of debt from that time period, I’m putting away $40 per paycheck–which is a lot for me, but I’m hoping it means that I won’t literally die of starvation at 75.

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