Everybody knows that women outlive their male counterparts, on average by 6 to 8 years. They are often caregivers to their ailing spouses or elderly parents. Despite this, too many women are not planning nearly early enough.
It should not come as a surprise that men and women are different. Women, for some reason, tend to invest less. A recent study reported that over 70% of the money women have is in cash. That’s a shocking number. Cash not only doesn’t earn a return, it actually declines in value over time because of inflation. The stock market, on the other hand, has averaged over 9% for the past 90 years, including the great recession of 2007-2008.
Both men and women have a tendency to put off things that are not urgent … and learning the skill of money management takes time. If you have a husband or companion who does the planning and makes the investment decisions it makes sense to accept the division of labor. But by the time that financial decisions fall on the woman as the surviving spouse, it can often be too little too late.
There is another little secret that a lot of men would rather not admit: they’re often not the experts that they think they are. The men who lost half their 401k retirement plans when the market tanked in the Great Recession may not be the ones from whom women should take investment guidance.
Our advice for women (and men who love their wives) is to find a knowledgeable financial advisor, preferably a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) who specializes in retirement planning and is an independent fee-only RIA (Registered Investment Advisor).
They will provide guidance, create the plan, and be there when the woman finds herself “suddenly single.” It’s the right thing to do and makes life so much easier.
Arie J. Korving, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, has been delivering customized wealth management solutions to his clients for more than three decades. Prior to co-founding Korving & Company, he was First Vice President with UBS Wealth Management and held management positions with General Electric.