March 22, 2024

In honor of Women’s History Month, it’s important to reflect on the progress of women’s rights, especially in the realm of finances. Throughout history, remarkable women have defied societal norms and fought for equality, inspiring generations of girls to dream bigger and achieve more.

Icons like Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America, and Muriel Siebert, known as the “First Woman of Finance,” was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female Supreme Court Justice, tirelessly advocated for gender equality under the law. They were all trailblazers for women in finance. These are just three, but many other women could be mentioned.

Why doesn’t earning power naturally lead to financial decision-making power?

An increasing number of women are primary breadwinners in their households. But most female breadwinners in heterosexual relationships earning more of the household income are NOT making the major money-related decisions for the family (1).

  • Traditional gender roles. Stereotypical gender roles may cause women to feel less comfortable managing family finances which may come more naturally to men.
  • Work-life balance. Competing responsibilities may encourage women to let their spouse take finances off their plate. But this may be detrimental in the long run.
  • Lack of financial education. Lack of knowledge about investing and financial planning can make it less appealing to be involved in financial decision-making.

Women are often paid less than their male counterparts and are more likely to take career breaks or work part-time to care for others. This can result in lower income and less retirement savings. A problem compounded by the fact that women tend to outlive men, which means they need to save more for a longer retirement.

Here are some financial tips to help female breadwinners manage family finances more assertively and achieve long-term financial goals.

Tips to Take Charge

Communicate Openly:
Establishing open communication with your partner. Consider a date night to discuss goals and distribute household responsibilities so you have time to be involved in family finances.

Compile Important Info:
Gather account details, passwords, and contacts like attorneys and CPAs. Save hard and digital copies in a location shared with trusted family members.

Create a Budget:
Track income and expenses. Having a clear sense of where your money is going will help identify areas for improvement and is the first step toward becoming more involved in managing finances.

Start an Emergency Fund:
Establishing a financial safety net for unexpected expenses like medical bills or home repairs can alleviate stress and provide a sense of security.

Save for Retirement:
Make sure you’re contributing enough to retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s or IRAs, and consider working with a financial advisor to determine the best investments for your goals.

Purchase Insurance:
Ensure adequate coverage for health, life, and disability insurance to safeguard against events that could jeopardize your family’s financial stability.

Get Estate Documents in Order:
Make a plan for your family in case something happens to you. Consult with a qualified attorney to for key documents like Power of Attorney and a Will. Also, review beneficiary designations annually.

Learn About Personal Finance:
If you lack of confidence in making financial decisions, attend workshops, read books, or consult with a financial advisor to enhance your know-how and comfort in managing your money.

Female breadwinners face unique financial challenges. With careful planning, communication with your
partner and help from professionals, you can manage family finances confident you can achieve financial
stability and build a secure future for your family.

*This material is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, or investment advice. Although we go to great
lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified professional regarding your situation.
Commonwealth Financial Network does not provide tax or legal advice.

(1) Own Your Worth Report: Women breadwinners face challenges embracing financial power, 2023 | UBS Global