This month is Women’s History Month. 

 We celebrate women because women are unique.

Women are smart, caring and a force to be reckoned with.  How many lives will be changed #metoo?  Women think, live, spend, earn and save differently than men.  Not only are women caretakers, CEOs, business leaders, developers in technology and entrepreneurs,  women are teachers, police and military personnel.  We shape world policy and  make homes for our families (#homemakers). Women are shoppers, taxis, cheerleaders and the emotional backbones of our families and we are supposed to be skinny, toned and look good while we do those things.

Over 60 percent of us work outside our homes in full or part time jobs and recent statistics reflect that over 9 million women own businesses in the US and employ over 25 million people and generate $3.6 trillion in sales.  Women own 50% of the stock held in the US and make the majority of the under $1,000 expenditures made by a family.

But women face economic challenges men do not face.

Even with wage equality and the crash of what used to be called the “glass ceiling,” a woman will spend, on average, 11.5 years out of the workforce as a stay-at-home or part-time mom. In fact, this will result in less in social security benefits and retirement savings or assets.

Close to 40% of first marriages fail and the majority of women divorced after 50 will not remarry.  Sixty percent of second marriages fail and 70% of third marriages fail.  A divorced woman can often take 10 years or more to regain her pre-divorce financial status and stability.

Women not only care for their children (baby boomers have “boomerangs”) but typically they will be the guardians and caretakers for their elderly parents.    Baby boomers who are married can expect to be widowed by age 67 (on average) and  these widows will spend up to 6 years alone. For the first time, in 2018, women were in control of over 51% of the wealth in the US and that number continues to grow.

Women need to plan now.

So no matter who makes the financial decisions in your home now – it is incumbent upon all women to prepare to be their own financial planners, retirement specialists, wealth managers, take responsibility for the family legacy and to designate decision-makers in the event of incapacity or death.  You should educate yourself about your family’s future now.  Meet and surround yourself with Advisors you trust and who will assist you to make the decisions that you will be faced with in the future.  Your attorney is just one of the “team” who can assist you to prepare for that future.

If you are not currently prepared to manage your wealth you need to begin educating yourself immediately.  For example, do you know what assets you have?  Make a list and make sure that you update it frequently.

Questions to ask:

  • Have you prepared for the college education of your children?
  • You should have agreements and financial resources for your business to continue to run if you should become incapacitated, pass away or want to retire to Bali!
  • You should verify that your assets are titled or beneficiaried correctly so you don’t accidentally disinherit one of your children.  We have had clients who still have their 1st spouse listed or only one child (out of several) named.
  • The standard beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance can cause the immediate imposition of deferred income tax if something should happen to you.
  • Could your 18 year old manage the “windfall” of your estate if something happened to you now?
  • Is CPS really the best caretaker for your children?
  • Will you leave your assets to your children or grandchildren outright leaving it subject to their bankruptcy or divorce?
  • How will you take care of your parents after you are gone?
  • Who will take care of you, your children and your finances if you are incapacitated?
  • How will your children pay the taxes if you pass away?
  • Will there be enough resources for your small children and spouse if something happens to one of you?
  • Are your assets sufficiently protected in the event of a divorce, creditor issues or bankruptcy?

These are just several of the challenges our clients face.  As women, we understand that you need to control your financial destiny and the challenges you face in doing that.  Planning for and by women is significantly different than planning for men.  Whether a woman is single, a committed partner, married, divorced or widowed, women are unique.  Prepare and educate.  This is the mission of our law firm as we celebrate women this month.