Why women have unique financial challenges... and what they can do about them

It’s critical that women are engaged in their or their family’s finances and prepared to make both expected and unexpected financial decisions... long before, as well as into retirement.

In many ways, how you manage your finances has little to do with your gender; the markets, interest rates and the economy generally function without considering whether you’re a man or a woman.

However, women can face unique financial considerations and challenges at all stages of their lives... whether they have children or they don’t, and whether they are married, single or divorced.

JUST THE FACTS

  • Today, the average Canadian woman is expected to live until age 83, while for men it’s 79
  • Women comprise 60% of Canada’s population over 75, and 73% of those living in senior’s residences. Further, 89% of women living in senior’s residences live alone
  • Women tend to leave the work force for periods of time more frequently, earn less and have lower pensions than men
  • Whether due to single parenthood, or caring for children after divorce or for aging parents, the role of primary or sole caregiver still falls with women more frequently than men

UNIQUE CHALLENGES

Longer lifespans mean many women will need to fund longer retirements, manage all household finances and family wealth independently, and potentially pay for more ongoing healthcare.

To maintain a comfortable and worry-free retirement, many women will need to save a higher percentage of their earnings, fund more of their retirement income with their savings and possibly work later in life.

Women should also look closely at their financial and personal needs and goals in light of the many paths their lives may take, with or without a spouse, caring for children or parents, or living
alone. It’s critical that women are engaged in their or their family’s finances and prepared to make both expected and unexpected financial decisions... long before, as well as into retirement.

THE SOLUTION: GET INVOLVED, KNOW YOUR FINANCES AND HAVE A PLAN

Whether out of necessity or desire, many women have long ago taken their finances into their own hands, or are equally involved with their partner, but many women have not. Additionally, there
remain many couples without a plan to address the numerous paths their lives may take, or the unique challenges that one of them may face.

If you’re single, and without a financial plan, it’s time to look at both your financial and personal goals, needs and risks, and put one together.

If you’re part of a couple, and you’re leaving the finances up to your partner, it’s time to take an interest, meet your partner’s advisors, get educated and ensure that you’re aware of all aspects of your plan, and that your unique risks, needs and goals have been considered.

Mathieu's column, Your Financial Corner, will appear in each edition of Chamber Vision magazine, published by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton.

About the Author

Mathieu LeBlanc, CPA, CA, CIM

Associate Portfolio Manager, The Cormier Group of RBC Dominion Securities
Mathieu LeBlanc is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Associate Portfolio Manager with The Cormier Group of RBC Dominion Securities.