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Women and Finances

Written by Lani Poblete · 08 June 2017

Here are some worrisome facts if you are female: Women are twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line during retirement. This is especially true for single and minority women. And women continue to make less during their working years than men. The good news is that despite the unique challenges women face when it comes to saving and planning for retirement, women continue to outperform men when it comes to investing.

This partner packet provides information and resources to help women set themselves up for success despite the challenges they may face. Please share the article, social media content, graphics, and resources provided with your constituents, your partners, and the general public.

In This Packet:

Article (Short-Form and Long-Form)

Social Media Post and Graphics

Relevant Resources

Join Our List


Article

For use in communications that directly reach your constituents.

There's a great deal of information available on women and personal savings, particularly in recent research. For this partner packet, we have made two articles available. The first is a short-form article featuring savings tips for women, and the second is a long-form article taking a deeper dive into the challenges women face with steps that can be taken to help women gain a strong financial footing.

As always, we encourage you to use the contents of either post as a guest post, or rewrite them as your own.

Short-Form Article

Minding the gap: A practice in financial feminism

America Saves, a national campaign that promotes savings, notes significant differences in savings between men and women. A 2014 survey showed that women displayed a greater interest in savings, but there was no greater savings effort or savings effectiveness compared to men. But just two years later in the same survey, the gender gap leapt off the page. Woman were notably behind across 12 important financial indicators including consumer debt, savings habits, emergency savings, and general savings progress.

As concerns continue to rise over American's often inadequate retirement and emergency savings, it's become clear that the gender disparity can no longer be pushed aside. 2017 has already been dubbed the year of "financial feminism," and the momentum behind understanding and dismantling the financial gender gap has been picking up speed in headlines.

The fight to close this financial gender gap is a marathon, not a sprint, and there's still a great deal of work to be done. The challenges women face are not going to disappear anytime soon, but the financial choices women make in their circumstances can help to shift the tide.

Here are three actions women can take today to better set themselves up for long-term success:

1. Identify your savings goals: Women are outperforming men in the stock market, but the impetus behind their success isn't solely to make money. Successful female investors are successful because they've established long-term goals and savings targets. This practice is by no means limited to investing. In fact, savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully for things like retirement.

Think about what motivates you to save, and create concrete and realistic savings goals around that motivation.

2. Prioritize retirement savings: Enroll in any retirement options offered at your workplace and start making contributions as early and as often as possible. If your employer offers a match and you're not taking advantage of it, you are leaving money on the table.

If your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan, or a plan that works well for you, you can save for retirement by putting money in an individual retirement account (or IRA). Compound interest will maximize your savings over time, helping to make retirement comfortable and ultimately combat the expenses of that longer lifespan. Learn more about IRAs and the different types here.

3. Ask for help: Don't miss out on opportunities to dig yourself out of a financial hole or enhance your financial literacy because of shame or unfamiliarity. Whether you are up to your ears in high-interest debt, tackling retirement savings, getting a divorce, or expanding your family, there are local and national resources, like the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) or the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), available to help educate and support you on your unique financial journey. Not sure if you're In debt trouble? Find out by answering these four simple questions.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

Long-Form Article

Minding the gap: A practice in financial feminism

America Saves, a national campaign that promotes savings, notes significant differences in savings between men and women. A 2014 survey showed that women displayed a greater interest in savings, but there was no greater savings effort or savings effectiveness compared to men. But just two years later in the same survey, the gender gap leapt off the page. Woman were notably behind across 12 important financial indicators including consumer debt, savings habits, emergency savings, and general savings progress.

As concerns continue to rise over American's often inadequate retirement and emergency savings, its become clear that the gender disparity can no longer be pushed aside. 2017 has already been dubbed the year of "financial feminism," and the momentum behind understanding and dismantling the financial gender gap has been picking up speed in headlines.

The fight to close this financial gender gap is a marathon, not a sprint, and there's still a great deal of work to be done. The challenges women face are not going to disappear anytime soon, but the financial choices women make in their circumstances can help to shift the tide.

Challenges Women Face

Women have made great strides both socially and economically, but often the unique challenges they face are overlooked or marginalized:

1. Women are more likely to put family finances first. In a 2015 Fidelity survey, 72 percent of women were confident in their ability to manage and balance the family budget, but less than 40 percent said the same about planning for retirement.

2. Women live longer. Women are expected to outlive men by nearly five years on average. The Urban Institute estimated that over the next 50 years, about half of women will live for at least a decade past their spouse after age 65. The reality is that these extended years can be the most expensive due to medical and long-term care expenses.

3. Women face earning-power challenges. While it's true that women are making fewer cents on the dollar than their male counterparts, the issue here is far more complex than that:

  • 25 percent of working women in America are in one of 22 fast-growing jobs that pay less than $15 and are female-dominated. Despite these jobs being crucial to our economic future, the gender segregation of these jobs, as well as their low pay, puts women at a distinct disadvantage.
  • Half of working women have taken a leave from to care for family. Whether it's maternity leave or a daughter stepping away to care for an elderly parent, the departure often hinders earning potential, creates gaps in retirement savings, and reduces Social Security benefits.
  • Moms are also more likely to downshift in their careers in the interest of a work-family balance, making it harder to advance in their jobs. Compounded with differences in pay plateaus, this often means that women won't see equal growth in their salaries over time.
  • Women face scrutiny when it comes to negotiation. Sometimes this scrutiny is a self-imposed fear of being less than 100 percent qualified for a position, but often it is the way in which women are treated that deters them from negotiating into a better job with a higher salary.

The challenges only become more nuanced when you factor in major life events like education, children, and divorce. Although the financial landscape is getting brighter, the impact on women's finances has been catastrophic, with women being 35 percent more likely to live in poverty than men.

Taking action in this year of financial feminism

The fight to close the financial gender gap is a marathon, not a sprint, and there's a great deal of work to be done. The challenges women face are not going to disappear anytime soon, but the financial choices women make in their circumstances can help to shift the tide. Here are a few actions women can take to set themselves up for long-term success:

1. Identify your savings goals: Women are outperforming men in the stock market, but the impetus behind their success isn't solely to make money. Successful female investors are successful because they've established long-term goals and savings targets. This practice is by no means limited to investing. In fact, savers with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully for things like retirement.

Think about what motivates you to save, and create concrete and realistic savings goals around that motivation.

2. Prioritize retirement savings: Enroll in any retirement options offered at your workplace and start making contributions as early and as often as possible. If your employer offers a match and you're not taking advantage of it, you are leaving money on the table.

If your employer doesn't offer a retirement plan, or a plan that works well for you, you can save for retirement by putting money in an individual retirement account (or IRA). Compound interest will maximize your savings over time, helping to make retirement comfortable and ultimately combat the expenses of that longer lifespan. Learn more about IRAs and the different types here.

3. Ask for help: Don't miss out on opportunities to dig yourself out of a financial hole or enhance your financial literacy because of shame or unfamiliarity. Whether you are up to your ears in high-interest debt, tackling retirement savings, getting a divorce, or expanding your family, there are local and national resources, like the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) or the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), available to help educate and support you on your unique financial journey.

Not sure if you're in debt trouble? Find out by answering these four simple questions.

Tammy G. Bruzon works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at AmericaSaves.org.

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Social Media Posts

Share the following messages and graphics with your followers. (Right click on image to save and use).

#SavingsTipTuesday

 

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Start saving as soon as possible and put small amounts aside when you're young: http://bit.ly/2rXn2Ov via @kiplinger #SavingsTipTuesday
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Build an emergency fund so that you are prepared for the unexpected: http://bit.ly/2rjCNxC h/t @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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Worry less about losing money to your savings, and more about running out of money in retirement: http://bit.ly/2ofcCaK #SavingsTipTuesday
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Don't let shame dig you deeper into the red. Seek help & accountability: http://bit.ly/2o9IddK via @WomensHealthMag #SavingsTipTuesday
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Identify your savings goals and then make a plan to achieve them: http://bit.ly/2qUjegN via @AmericaSaves #SavingsTipTuesday
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#SavingsFactFriday

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77% of investors made $ in 2016, and women outperformed men for 3rd year in a row: https://cnnmon.ie/2oiLEMm v/ @CNNMoney #SavingsFactFriday
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Women work nearly 2/3 of minimum-wage jobs and make 79¢ for every $1 earned by men: http://ti.me/2oiPZ2o v/ @Money #SavingsFactFriday
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Women face unique challenges when it comes to saving & retirement: http://bit.ly/2onyv4N @WISERWomen h/t @AmericaSaves #SavingsFactFriday
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Women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men: http://bit.ly/2oa3fZM @nwlc #SavingsFactFriday
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Women more likely to have a 401(k) & take advantage of catch-up contributions: http://bit.ly/2oAHfnp v/ @themotleyfool #SavingsFactFriday
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74% of men, but only 67% of women, reported that they were making saving progress: http://bit.ly/2ok2yKK #SavingsFactFriday
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72% of men vs. 60% of women reported spending less than their income and saving the difference. http://bit.ly/2ok2yKK #SavingsFactFriday
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Additional Posts

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Have a savings tip or story that other women might benefit from? Share it w/ @AmericaSaves and you could win $25: http://bit.ly/2oiP4iv
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>25% of employed women have fast-growing job that pays <$15/hr, + is female-dominated: http://on.mktw.net/2oa1MCJ v/ @MarketWatch @AmericaSaves
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Let @AmericaSaves help you stay committed to your savings goal! Take the pledge today: http://bit.ly/2oiQERf
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Want to start saving for #retirement but don't think you can afford it? Think again: http://bit.ly/2onSFLZ @AmericaSaves
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Take charge of your financial future. Download a free copy of @irionline's "Women and Wealth" book: http://bit.ly/2ojVM7S @AmericaSaves
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Relevant Resources

Share the following resources with your audience and with partnering organizations.

From America Saves:

Blog Articles

Research

Other Resources and Research:

Fidelity Investments

Institute for Women's Policy Research

LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute

National Academy of Social Insurance

National Women's Law Center

Pew Research Center

Social Security Administration

TIAA

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Vanguard

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Join Our List

America Saves wants to assist your efforts to encourage financial action and savings behavior change throughout the year. Sign up here to receive:

  • partner resource packets every other month to help you communicate with the public, constituents, and other organizations
  • latest research and news from the campaign
  • other occasional updates and opportunities

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Take the Pledge

Written by Madeline Daniels · 28 April 2017

Emergency Savings

Written by Madeline Daniels · 20 April 2017

Nearly a quarter of savers who take the America Saves pledge chose “emergency savings” as their first wealth-building goal. And they have the right idea. Research shows that low-income families with at least $500 in an emergency fund were better off financially than moderate-income families with less than this amount. Yet most Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected emergency.

What is an emergency savings fund?

An emergency savings fund consists of at least $500, usually in a savings account that you do not have easy access to. Saving for this fund starts with small, regularly scheduled automatic contributions that build up over time.

Why should you start saving for emergencies?

Maintaining an emergency savings account may be the most important difference between those who manage to stay afloat and those who sink in debt. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that you can afford to pay unexpected expenses. That’s because keeping $500 to $1,000 of savings for emergencies can allow you to easily meet unexpected financial challenges such as repairing the brakes on your car or replacing a broken window in your house.

Not having emergency savings is one of the reasons many individuals borrow too much money, resort to high-cost loans, or increase their credit card balances to high levels.  

How should you build your emergency savings?

The easiest and most effective way to save is automatically. This is how millions of Americans save. Your bank or credit union can help you set up automatic savings by transferring a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings account. Learn more about saving automatically

Where should you keep your emergency savings?

It’s usually best to keep emergency savings in a bank or credit union savings account. These types of accounts offer easier access to your money than certificates of deposit, U.S. Savings Bonds, or mutual funds. Though these are useful tools for long-term saving, they are not ideal for an emergency fund that you may need access to more quickly. But not too quickly! Keeping your money in a savings account makes it much less likely that you will use these savings to pay for everyday, non-emergency expenses. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s why it is usually a mistake to keep your emergency fund in a checking account.

Your local America Saves campaign can help you find a participating financial institution that offers low- or no-minimum balance savings accounts.

How can you get started?

Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. This includes setting a goal to build an emergency fund and deciding how much you want to save each month. This is where we come in. If you’re ready to make a commitment to yourself to save, take the America Saves pledge to save money, build wealth, and reduce debt. We’ll keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal to build an emergency fund.

Pledge to save money

How can you find money to save for emergencies?

There are many places to find money to save. Get started by checking out our resources on how to save money.

Take the Pledge

Written by Madeline Daniels · 20 April 2017

Save with Direct Deposit

Automatic Savings Direct Deposit Savings First-Time Workers Workplace Savings
Written by Madeline Daniels · 17 February 2017

Adoption and awareness of direct deposit continues to build among consumers. A recent survey found that 82 percent of U.S. workers ─ crossing age, income and other demographic categories ─ are paid by Direct Deposit via ACH, up from 74 percent in 2011. >> Learn more

That's good news, because setting up automatic savings is the easiest and most effective way to save – it puts your extra cash out of sight and out of mind. There are a couple ways to automate savings with direct deposit:

  1. Use direct deposit at work to split your paycheck into different accounts: checking, emergency fund, retirement, investment, other goals. Automating retirement savings is a great way to assure that you receive any matches or employer contributions, too.
  2. Use direct deposit at tax time to put your refund directly into savings. A federal tax refund is the most money many American households receive all year. Make your refund an opportunity to improve your financial situation.  >> Learn more about saving automatically

When you pledged to save and became part of the America Saves community, you set a goal and made a plan to save toward it. Now, make sure you’re using the best method to reach your goal – save automatically!

Take the America Saves Pledge

America Saves for Young Workers

America Saves created a program that is helping youth save in this very way. Over 25 partner programs are integrating America Saves for Young Workers (ASYW) into their summer jobs programming.  Through ASYW, a partnership is created between the employer, one or more financial institutions, and America Saves. America Saves provides employees with the motivation to set up direct deposit and save a portion of their pay. And Youth Employment Programs provide direct deposit and the America Saves for Young Workers Program to employees. >> Learn more about America Saves for Young Workers

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | January 16, 2017

    Have questions about how to file taxes in your 20’s? Here are 6 easy steps from #BetterMoneyHabits: http://bit.ly/2iH8ICq @AmericaSaves

Saver Stories View all »

Jump-Starting a Financial Makeover

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Nichelle Johnson, a single mom with two teenage children, knows what it’s like to stretch a dollar. When she moved back to Virginia Beach in 2008, she provided for her family with just a part-time library position.

Read more...

The Gift of Homeownership

Written by Tammy G. Bruzon | August 5, 2015

Quaneka Willis, a single mother of three children, was receiving rental assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee when she decided to take control of her finances. So, in September of 2013 she attended the Make Your Money Talk program and pledged as a Wisconsin Saver. In less than 12 months, she had maximized her savings and was beginning the process of purchasing her first home.

Read more...

Developing a Savings "Game Plan"

Written by Katie Bryan | October 28, 2013

Eunice Diaz, a teacher in Colorado Springs, had been noticing a pattern. Despite the fact that she and her husband were “making good money,” they were spending their entire earnings and “were still struggling at the end of the month.”

Read more...