Why Financial Literacy is Imperative for Women

Dec 12, 2022 | Finances, Protecting Assets

In my work as a family law attorney, I’ve met many couples in the throes of divorce. I’ve also worked with couples as they craft their prenuptial agreements. One thing that has always startled and saddened me has been seeing countless women unnecessarily at a disadvantage due in large part to a dearth of financial literacy. 

Although in recent decades, women have made great strides forward in the battle for gender equality, attitudes surrounding women and money are still somewhat antiquated. In many countries around the world, men are still expected to provide for women, whereas women are not expected to be financially literate; money is the domain of the male partner, whereas the home is the domain of the female partner. It is only in the past few decades that women being a part of the workforce has become normalized in the US. Unfortunately, old attitudes about finance not being a woman’s domain are still salient in the American subconscious, despite the fact that outwardly our world has moved on. 

As such, women may not be expected to be financially knowledgeable. Women are wary of talking about money, and it isn’t as normal for groups of females (or women in general) to engage in detailed conversations about finances as it is for men. However, being financially literate as a woman is extremely important. Money is indeed an important part of securing opportunities for oneself and one’s family. Without financial literacy, opportunities and growth potential are more limited, and women are more likely to be stuck in dead-end financial cycles that could be broken by learning about and utilizing personal finance principles and tools. 

When women are financially literate, on the other hand, their chances of securing comfortable lifestyles and a range of new growth opportunities not only for themselves but also for future generations are far higher. 

Below we’re going to share a few rather dismal finance-related facts about women, then shift to the more uplifting topics of how financial literacy and empowerment can be gained.

Student Debt

  • Women take out an average of 9.6% more money in student loans  compared to their male counterparts
  • 58% of all student loan debt belongs to women
  • Women take an average of two years longer than men to repay their student debt

Divorce

  • 75% of divorced mothers don’t get full payment for child support
  • ~33% of divorcing home-owning females with children lose the house
  • 20% of divorcing women fall below the poverty line as a result of divorce

Investments and Retirement

  • Women are more likely to prioritize family and paying down debt over saving for retirement.
  • Men, particularly in the millennial generation, are more likely than women to have non-retirement investments, despite the fact that research shows women are better at investing
  • Because, on average, women live longer than men, their retirement funding needs to last longer. However, as a result of the gender pay gap and the gender wealth gap, women earn less and own less wealth and therefore have less money available for retirement. 
  • Women also save less than men (at least partially as a function of the gender pay and wealth gaps), which means less money available to invest. 

Abusive Relationships

  • The victim’s credit is negatively impacted in 59% of abusive relationships
  • About 98% of domestic violence cases also involve financial abuse

Financial Literacy for Females

Luckily, there is now a wide range of resources available for women who would like to become more financially literate. These are some of my favorites:

Financial Empowerment

Beyond obvious strategies like budgeting and paying off debt, here are two powerful tips for financial empowerment.

Advocate for yourself. Women are generally more agreeable than men. That can lead to us accepting conditions that aren’t fair or avoiding things like asking for more money in the workplace in order not to make waves. By learning to negotiate for higher pay and face the discomfort that comes with being assertive and asking for what we feel we deserve, women can increase their earning potential and therefore have more money available to invest.

Learn about investing–and start planning your retirement. It’s best to start investing young, but it’s never too late. Remember that women are innately better at investing than men; use that to your advantage. Check out some of the many articles written about this in well-reputed publications if you’re feeling intimidated by the prospect of investing. If you’re a beginner, you can read up on investing herehere, and here. It’s also worth your while to consider consulting with an experienced financial planner or investment consultant. 

Financial Literacy and Prenups

Stereotypically, prenups are meant to protect men from gold-digging wives. In reality, however, prenups can also benefit women–so long as they’re written fairly. An important part of financial literacy is recognizing when you’re getting a fair deal. Here are a few things for women to ask themselves as they’re in the process of drafting their prenups in order to help determine whether the agreement is truly fair and balanced:

  • If we get divorced with this agreement, will I be worse off financially than when I entered the marriage?
  • Does this agreement account for potential non-financial contributions to the marriage, such as my taking time off from work to raise children?
  • Does this agreement account for the income and future earning potential I will lose if I stop working, scale back my work, or otherwise sacrifice career growth in favor of staying home with kids? 
  • Am I protected from my future husband’s debt, including future debt?
  • How will I be taken care of financially if I have to leave my job to take care of a family member? (Keep in mind that women are 300% more likely than men to be the ones to shoulder this burden if it arises).

These questions can get you started, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more about prenups, here are more details about what a prenup is. You can also check out Hello Prenup’s blog for more information about a variety of prenup, marriage, and relationship-related topics. When you’re ready to draft your own prenup, you can do so at a fraction of the normal price by using HelloPrenup’s online platform. It guides you and your partner through the entire process without either of you ever having to set foot in an attorney’s office. Here’s how it works

 

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. HelloPrenup, Inc. (“HelloPrenup”) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site. HelloPrenup will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at any time and without notice. HelloPrenup provides a platform for contract related self-help. The information provided by HelloPrenup along with the content on our website related to legal matters (“Information”) is provided for your private use and does not constitute legal advice. We do not review any information you provide us for legal accuracy or sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide opinions about your selection of forms, or apply the law to the facts of your situation. If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Neither HelloPrenup nor any information provided by Hello Prenup is a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed to practice in an appropriate jurisdiction.

Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here 🤓 Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected] 

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