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Jerry Citarella: Women in the workplace

Financial Truth

Posted: October 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

There has been a good amount of time spent at the Presidential debates on the topic of women and the workplace. I’m not going to turn this article into a political debate, but I do think that it’s worth looking into the facts regarding women, the workplace and retirement.

Are women really at a disadvantage just because of their gender? If you are not a woman, you probably know one (or two, or three, or “binders full”), so please continue to read and then share this information with the females in your life.

The U.S. Department of Labor has found that women now make up more than half of the workforce, and hold nearly half of the managerial and professional jobs. They control a majority of the household wealth and purchases, and can be found on lists of the wealthiest people in the country. However, statistics also show that they make less money, live longer than men, and that half of them have not yet begun to invest for retirement.

The reasons for these are varied, but one theory is that women still fulfill the role of housewife and mother, which is often in conflict with maintaining a successful career.

“Women who decide to stay home to raise their kids miss out on years’ worth of both income and work experience,” said Danika Sanchez, founder of CentofaWoman.com.

“When it comes time for them to re-enter the workforce, many employers are hesitant to take a chance on someone who is missing a chunk of time on their resume,” she said. “Because women tend to put others first, they often forget to keep up on activities that will benefit them in future work opportunities, let alone keep up with investing for their retirement.”

On top of the personal and family-related issues that women deal with, the Social Security Administration reports that women receive 25 percent less earnings, 25 percent less Social Security upon retirement, 40 percent less pension, and yet live 5 years longer than their male counterparts. Some of this has to do with taking time off to raise a family, but some of it is really just a cultural issue. So why am I telling you all of this? As the old “G.I.Joe” cartoons used to conclude with, “Knowing is half the battle.”

Just being aware of these facts should make you more aware of how you are using, spending and saving your wealth. If you know that you will most likely make less than others, but you will live longer and thus need more money in retirement, then you should find a way to save more. Women do tend to be good at saving, and have a knack for making investment decisions, but they also appreciate having someone to guide them along the way. They are more likely to stick with an investing plan, and therefore tend to be more successful with reaching their goals.

Here is a quick “to-do” list that can help you maximize your potential, regardless of where you are in your career: 1) Find a financial professional that you can trust. 2) Contribute to whatever retirement plan is offered at work — 401k, 403b, TSA, etc. 3) Set up an IRA for additional retirement savings. Even if you take time off of work to raise a family, or for any other reason, you can continue to save for your future. 4) Never stop learning. Whether it be honing skills that you could use at work, keeping up on industry news, or picking up a new hobby, learning will keep your mind sharp and ready to re-enter the workforce if that time ever comes.

Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management www.InfinityGoals.com. 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, (661) 255-9555, ext. 11. He is also the author of The Truth Helps Series of financial planning books. Citarella’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to: jcitarella@nextfinancial.com. Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group Inc.

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