Older women face some tough financial inequalities, that paint a grim future as they continue to age. “The lower wages faced by so many women magnify over time. So, if you are earning lower wages in your 20s and 30s, imagine the lower wages you are still going to be earning in your 40s and 50s,” says Lisa Rowan, personal finance expert at The Penny Hoarder.
Lower wages early in your career have the potential to follow you your entire life. That means less money to use in your budget, less money to save, and less money to invest. Young women may be focusing on learning to budget and building credit, which is important, but it’s also important to focus on how much money you earn compared to the men at your same career and experience level. “You might know the statistic that women tend to make 79-cents on the dollar compared to men, but that is the statistic for white women. For African American women it is 63-cents to the man’s dollar for their counterpart, and for Hispanic women, it is 54-cents to the dollar, “says Rowan.
Those are national stats. The stats for the standard woman wage gap in Oklahoma is 74-cents to every man’s dollar, and the numbers are lower still for women of color. Wage disparities also widen with age. According to the Harvard Business Review, a 2017 study shows young college educated women make 89-percent of what their male counterparts make, but by the time they are nearing their 50s, their male counterparts are making 55-percent more in the same career.
Aggressive advocacy in yourself, and being familiar with wage ranges is important. In your 40s and 50s, or later in your career, it is also important to focus on investing and retirement. If your company has a 401(K) match, make sure you are taking advantage of the benefit. It is also important to have a few thousand dollars saved in case of an emergency.
Financial literacy isn’t something that you do once and forget about. It is something that you revisit throughout your life, as your life changes,” says Rowan Refreshing your financial literacy can mean reading a book on finances and even taking free or low cost financial literacy classes. Anyone can feel more confident being their own advocate.