My life experiences and the stories I hear when I coach and mentor moms have given me a keen awareness of just how crucial financial planning is for women, especially for moms. I always say that a man is not a plan, especially not a financial plan! While learning how to secure your financial future doesn’t sound exactly fun, but it can be.
Because I’m so passionate about teaching and encouraging moms to become financially empowered, I was delighted to represent Prudential at the 2017 installment of Mom 2.0 Summit at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando. My favorite part is always partnering with Dorinda Walker Vice President of Consumer Strategy & Key Initiatives in Multicultural Marketing for Prudential’s U.S. Based Businesses, and to witness what it’s like to work with someone who walks their talk, especially when it come to empowering other women.
Mom 2.0 Summit is the premier professional conference for the nation’s most influential mom bloggers and female entrepreneurs who create online content. Every year, women leaders in media and business gather at Mom 2.0 to discuss trends, ideas, and best practices, as well as to make connections with like-minded influencers and brand representatives. It was my second Mom 2.0, since I had been a speaker in 2015, along with blogging superstars Rebecca Woolf, Julie Cole, and Jessica Shyba.
This time around, I was paired up with extraordinary influencers once again. My fellow panelists were the impressive Delvin Joyce (husband, father, award-winning Managing Director of the South Florida Financial Group of Prudential, and JMU Sports Hall of Fame honoree), the charismatic Vera Sweeney (mom of three, social media influencer, and founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com), and the remarkable Audrey McLellan (mom of five, social media consultant, brand advocate, and founder of MomGenerations.com). Yes, I was surrounded by awesomeness and gorgeousness.
I wore my Prudential blue, put on the Pru necklace we received as Prudential Brand Ambassadors at DiMe Summit, and I went to the Prudential booth/lounge area to have a make-up artist get me photo-ready and video-ready! After I was able to get on those tall chairs, I joined Delvin, Audrey and Vera in putting fun in FUNd (you know, college fund, retirement fund, emergency fund…). I’m proud of this word discovery, by the way!
Our financial workshop discussion was titled “Match Wits in Our Interactive Challenge: Have Fun While Learning Ways to Secure Your Financial Future” and it was done in a creative way that sparked engaging discussions. The attendees were able to interact electronically to financial questions the Delvin Joyce posed throughout the session, and we were able to see the survey results on the screen almost instantaneously. You can see the video and that Audrey, Vera, and I answered with our personal stories. This was such a creative way to spark engaging discussions!
Prudential is committed to contributing the multicultural and affluent women’s market, through providing educational content and starting conversations about running your business, becoming a successful mom entrepreneur, saving for retirement, investing and budgeting, paying for kids’ college, and planning for the unexpected. Mission accomplished!
Did you know that the fastest growing groups in the small business segment are women and minority-owned? It is really important for us as mompreneurs to be fully aware and engaged in addressing our financial challenges and behavioral inhibitors (lower engagement, procrastination, optimism bias), in order to participate fully in the economy and take the necessary steps to plan for our personal and business finances in a timely manner.
The energy in the room was potent! We are all so passionate about helping women, mom, and mompreneurs learn how to own our future, despite the specific unique challenges we face when it comes to long-term financial security, in our quest to protect ourselves, our businesses, and those we love most. We specifically brought to light these gaps:
The Women Income / Wage Gap
The average woman working full-time earns 79% of the income earned by her male worker counterpart. Thanks to entrepreneurship, we can bridge that gap; however, it takes a mindset shift to even realize our worth, let alone get paid what we deserve.
The Women Time Gap
On average, women in the U.S. spend 28 hours per week on uncompensated work such as household chores (and, for some of us, homeschooling) – 6 percent more than the average for men. These challenges lead to lower retirement savings and Social Security benefits. It’s not that I forever gave up on chores, but it is important to prioritize, know when to say NO, and when delegation is needed.
The Women Longevity Gap
On average, women live 5 years longer than men, yet they retire with only two-thirds the wealth. There are increased healthcare expenses in retirement that women are not planning for. If you grew up in a home or a cultural environment where it was taboo to talk about dying or getting old, then you get why this may be the case.
Women’s social security benefits are 27 percent lower than that of their male counterparts. I respect other women’s choices, but instead of buying wrinkle prevention or removal cremes and hair dye to cover up the grays that are showing up, I’d rather save that money for a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle, and to build legacy. Don’t get me started on the shoes, either!
Saving for college is another thing that gets in the way of being debt-free and saving for retirement.I am currently learning about 529 savings plans, because I’ve been saving for my daughters’ college, but these savings are not tax deferred. There are many options you can access without taking money from your retirement fund: choosing schools wisely, scholarships, as well as researching grants and financial aid programs, and yes, personal and government loans, too! Sometimes, in giving our children everything, we may be robbing them of the opportunity to value and appreciate their blessings.
The use of your oxygen mask in case of aircraft failure is a metaphor that can be used for all things parenting. We must first invest in our retirement and make sure we have everything in place in case of an unforeseen emergency or tragedy. This way, we are setting up our children for success. If you had savings for college but no retirement or life insurance, they could suffer if something were to happen to you.
I’m not an expert in life insurance; however, I know it is essential. Women lag men in life insurance ownership, and 44 percent of adult women have no life insurance while others are under-insured. And since we are talking about gaps, here’s a big one: women carry almost 30 percent less life insurance than their male counterpart.
There’s peace of mind in knowing that if you were to die, your mortgage would be paid off, college for your children would be taken care of, and your policy will replace your income so the bills are covered. A financial advisor can help you decide whether you need a Term or Whole Life policy and how much to be insured for.
The Women Investment Gap
Women often don’t invest to the same degree as men, which can come at a high cost: delaying and investing more conservatively may result in potentially lower long-term return.On average women have 35-40 percent lower retirement balances than men across different industries. Women are generally not risk-averse, but given the opportunity, most women will minimize risk as much as possible. That’s not necessarily true when you’re Latina and Hispanic, though.
When you grow up in extreme poverty, you are often focused on the day to day survival and investing doesn’t even cross your mind, but even for those who grow up in a semi middle class environment are taught not to trust financial institutions and/or professionals, and this not a way to progress or build wealth.
Did you know these facts and stats? Some of them were shocking to me! As we become aware of these numbers, we must learn how to deal with budgets and investments, set up guaranteed income sources for our retirement, and understand how to pay for college and elder care while saving for our own retirement. Working with a Financial Professional might put you on a more focused financial path, like it has for me.
One of the questions that most resonated with me during our financial workshop is one that I would encourage you to ponder on:
What one thing would you change today that could make an immediate impact on your financial future?
I’ve decided ask myself this question every single day. Imagine if we all changed one thing, or did something everyday to impact our financial future. What if we added the things we would NOT do to impact our financial future, as well?
What decision you will make to secure your financial future? Will you stop impulse buying? Will you pay down your credit card debt? Will you organize your financial paperwork? Will you get an IRA? Will you come up with a backup plan? Will you have a life insurance policy, annuity, pension, will or estate plan, long-term care insurance in your portfolio? Will you start working with a financial advisor?
Remember to honor where you are on your financial journey. For more information, visit Prudential.com and follow along using #OwnYourFuture!