The need for personal financial planning was highlighted during a women’s summit hosted by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
The summit comes at a time of local and national conversations about equal pay for women and the overall strength of their decision making and buying power.
During the “How to Maintain Financial Health in Difficult Economic Times” summit, Reynolds Brown says women in the United States still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
However, the tide is slowly beginning to turn.
Reynolds Brown cited a Time magazine article titled, “Women, Money and Power,” which stated some experts are predicting that in 25 years, law and medicine will be female-dominated professions. According to Census Bureau data crunched by Reach Advisors, a market-research firm, single, childless women ages 22 to 30 in the majority of large U.S. cities now have a higher median income than their male peers.
“If we are poised to earn the lion’s share of wealth in future generations, it means we must be better equipped and educated on how to manage that wealth,” Reynolds Brown said.
Summit attendees were briefed on saving and investing for retirement and life insurance options by panelists, Antoinette C. Robbins, senior compliance officer, Delaware Investments and Myra E. Parker, financial professional associate, Prudential Insurance Company of America.
Robbins says it’s important that consumers consider factors such as their age, income, financial situation and financial goals when they seek to save and invest their funds.
“A timeline is important and who you’re growing this money for. Is it for a child, is it for yourself, or a spouse or partner? Is it for your elder care, is it to help you buy that first home? All these things are goals,” says Robbins.
Robbins offered tips on selecting a financial services professional by checking the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for information on licensed brokers and professional designations.
Robbins says people can start off with the concept of “paying yourself first” by saving 10 percent of their paycheck.
While Robbins offered tips for gearing up for investments, her fellow panelist addressed the importance of having life insurance.
“My particular focus right now is helping people with life insurance and financial planning because I feel that the foundation for most families is life insurance,” says Parker, who noted there are products that can be used for death expenses, investment purposes and long-term care expenses.
One of the most important investment tools that that can be used towards retirement expenses is the 401(k) plan.
“For those of you who are being entrepreneurs while you are working at a regular job, if you have an opportunity to participate in 401ks, please do so, particularly if your company is still offering you a match, because you’re leaving money on the table if you’re not taking advantage of that match,” Parker stressed.
Parker highlighted the “Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women” 2010–2011 Prudential Research Study which assessed the landscape of women’s financial security and preparedness. Based on a poll of 1,250 American women, the study found that just one-third of those surveyed had a detailed financial plan in place and among the youngest segment ages 25–34, only one in 10 had a plan in place.
According to the study, many women still lack confidence in their ability to make sound financial decisions and lack knowledge about sophisticated financial products.
The study also indicated that 55 percent of the women polled believe they would have to work longer than they expected and thereby postpone their retirement.