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Financial planning for women: Still more room for growth

Spotlight on Finance

— Regardless of whether you have had the opportunity to watch the acclaimed PBS series Downtown Abbey, the show that is celebrated for its intriguing plotlines and early twentieth century period costumes has gained recognition for something far more profound—shining the spotlight on the financial status of women just under a century ago. And it wasn’t very pretty.

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Fran O’Rourke, Senior Vice President, Key Private Bank

Today, it’s easy to take for granted how far women have come. Once subjected to institutionalized financial illiteracy, the modern woman is as adept at running a major corporation as she is at managing the day-to-day finances of her household. She knows the importance of an emergency savings fund, invests in her 401(k) and actively builds and reviews her financial plan for the future. So why, then, all this fuss about women and money?

"Women control 33 percent of North America’s wealth; IRS statistics show that women (not couples) represent 39 percent of all “top wealth holders” in the U.S."

The answer is simple: organizations care about the relationship between women and money because they know women still face some unique financial challenges.

Women and their financial status

Here are some interesting statistics about women and money.

● Women control 33 percent of North America’s wealth; IRS statistics show that women (not couples) represent 39 percent of all “top wealth holders” in the U.S.

● Forty-three percent of investors with more than $500,000 in investable assets are women.

● Seventy-three percent of full-time working women said they are the financial head of their household, responsible for spending, budgeting and their families’ financial planning and investing.

● Women leave the work force for an average of 11.5 years versus 16 months for men.

Statistically, women are more in control of their financial lives than ever before. However, one statistic remains glaring—that women spend nearly 10 years less than men in the workplace. Combined with lower pay, this translates into women earning 30 percent less income than men over the course of their careers.

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