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Women’s Finances Are Taking a Hit. Here’s How to Combat It.
The pressure of the pandemic both in and out of the workforce is having a significant impact on women and their financial futures. According to a recent UBS Global Wealth Management survey, 61% of women feel that Covid-19 has hurt their careers.
- 40% of women have reduced hours at work to help care for children while they’re out of school.
- 25% have had to delay retirement, even though 88% said it was a top priority for them.
- 4 in 10 reported that salary increases and promotions had been put on hold.
- 26% are considering leaving the workforce entirely.
Financial challenges during the Covid pandemic
In response to the financial insecurity during the pandemic, there has been a 12% increase in the percentage of women reviewing their finances — up to 45%. While the increase suggests a positive story for women’s control over finances, it also suggests a gap between their work expectations and their current reality.
Women are taking on more than just the burden of decreased hours and stalling career progressions. Seventy percent report handling cooking, while 67% are taking on childcare and remote learning on top of their day jobs.
A report by the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion found that of those currently not working because of caregiving needs, 80% are women. This in turn is adding family care challenges, as well as childcare costs related to remote work and school. We spoke to Kelly Wittich, CFP®, FTB Financial Services team at UBS Financial Services, about the steps women can take to safeguard their financial stability. Here’s what she had to say.
What advice do you have for women who are having trouble with their finances?
The first thing I would say to women struggling right now is, take a moment, breathe, and realize you are not alone. The pandemic has impacted many people, especially women, as they have had to assume more roles and responsibilities in their everyday lives. For many women, this is a setback, but not a permanent one.
I suggest focusing on the areas where you have control. Take this time to assess where you want to be when our lives return to a more normal pace. Reflect on the past year – ask yourself what you enjoyed. Was it more family time, alone time, and working from home? What did you not enjoy? Taking the time to reflect will allow you to focus on what is important, and then you can begin to take action.
Do you want more out of your career? Talk to your boss and colleagues. Is there a better role in the company? Do you need to find a new job or switch your career? Should you enroll in online classes now that will help achieve this? Were you more effective working from home? Talk to your company so you can agree to a more flexible work schedule.
What actions can women take to stay on track for retirement?
To quote Mark Twain, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Revisit your plan and understand where you are headed. Are you still on track to achieve your goals?
If you do not have a plan, find a partner such as a trusted family member, friend or financial advisor and draft a plan. Once you understand your plan, you will be able to focus on the specific action steps, like saving more, spending less, adjusting your retirement age, or refinancing. This will give you confidence and control over your future.
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