Women are Today’s Financial Decision Makers. What are They Doing?

A little-known fact is that today, not only do 38% of women out-earn their husbands, and according to LIMRA, but are also financially more decisive.

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Women are Today’s Financial Decision Makers. What are They Doing?
5 Min Read February 5th, 2020

If you’ve watched TV lately, you’ve probably seen the Cascade Platinum TV Commercial with the little girl that asks the question, “What does the dishwasher do?”

My wife’s answer is “cuts the grass, paints the house, cleans the bathrooms, does the laundry, feeds the dogs, takes out the trash, picks up after her husband, and, of course, washes the dishes before she loads the dishwasher.”   My reply is, ‘oh, honey, I do some…’ LOL.  

In all seriousness, my wife does an awful lot to keep our home and business afloat. In fact, she handles most of the finances, including balancing the checkbook, paying the bills, filing taxes, and making most of the ‘big decisions,’ as it pertains to our finances. 

As a road warrior spending upwards of 150 plus nights away from home, my ego was never that big, so I’m good with how she’s managed the finances over the years. I often joke I could never divorce her since she has all the passwords to our online activity and financial accounts. Here’s the irony. I was a Regional Vice President for well-known insurance and financial services companies.  

Women Taking the Lead with Financial Planning

How the finances are handled in our home is no longer the outlier but rather the norm. A little-known fact is that today, not only do 38% of women out-earn their husbands, and according to LIMRA, but are also financially more decisive. [1] 

Although women are taking the lead with financial planning, the Alliance for Lifetime Income reports, women are more concerned than men about outliving their money. When you consider only 38% of women have any employer-sponsored retirement plan, there are certainly reasons for concern. [2] 

One of the many positive aspects to women taking the lead in financial planning is their wealth is expected to nearly triple from $8 trillion today to over $22 trillion by 2050, and they are also expected to inherit an additional $29 trillion over the next 40 years as the “Boomer” dies off. [3]

Life-Events a Challenge for Women

The challenge for women of the GenX cohort is their “Life-events,” which include but are not limited to, divorce, job loss, and caregiving of aging parents and grandparents. It is the life-event, “aging parents” and the impact of caregiving will be the focus of this article.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, there are roughly 328,240,000 citizens in the U.S. Women comprise 51.1%. There are 48 million over age 65, and that number is expected to double to over 88 million by 2050. 

In 2014, women comprised 56% of the older population age 65+, and of those, 56% live alone. [4] Although the number has dropped slightly overall, for those aged 75+ and live alone, that cohort continues to increase. 

Caregiving Has Big Impact on Women

A 2017 Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute concluded that roughly 79% of 65-year-old women will need some long-term care during their lifetime. On average, these women will end up needing 3.7 years of care. 

Currently, there are nearly 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S., and 34.2 million of those caregivers are unpaid and caring an adult age 50+. The “heavy lifting” is for the caregivers that providing for the care of those diagnosed with a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s Disease. That number is estimated at almost 16 million. And, 75% of all caregivers are women. [5]

Long-Term Care Costs are Expensive

Let’s consider the following. The latest U.S. Census report indicates the median income in the U.S. is $42,113. According to the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator, the median cost of long-term in a nursing facility is $91,980 for a semi-private room, $49,440 for assisted living and over $51,825, and rising, for informal home care. 

As the demand for Home and Community Based Care Services (HBCS) increases, the number of caregivers is decreasing. Today, there are seven caregivers per 100,000 cohort age 45-64. In 2030 the ratio will by 4-1, and in 2050 the ratio will be 3-1. [6] 

If we look at those providing professional care, the average age of a Registered Nurse (RN) in the U.S. is 51, and by the year 2050, 75% of the U.S. Health Care workforce will be age 65+. [7]

What Does the Decision Maker Do? 

  • Women- They make up roughly 90% of the RN and LPN workforce with an average age of 51.
  • Women- They provide only 3.8% of the home-based care services within the nursing profession.
  • Women- They provide for 75% of the $34 million of Informal and unpaid care in the U.S. 
  • Women- They outlive their spouses.
  • Women-They are concerned about outliving their income.
  • Women-They will inherit much of the wealth over the next 40 years.
  • Women-They are the typical buyer of Long-Term Care Insurance. [8] Age 50-64, married with children, college educated, working white-collar professional.
  • Women- They are taking the lead in Financial Planning decisions.

These women are considering their planning options. The question is, are you? 

There are ten key questions every woman should answer before they purchase an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Click here.  

Start your research when you are younger and enjoy better health. Many women have spouses or partners. Generally, many insurance companies offer partner discounts. Some companies also offer shared partner benefits. Be sure to ask about those options when you discuss long-term care planning with a qualified specialist.

One resource I recommend is the Living Room Learning Channel

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About the Author

With over 20 years of financial services experience working with agents, advisors, and clients in developing and facilitating income and risk assessment strategies to mitigate asset exposure with a long-term care event.

LTC News Contributor Kim Purnell

Kim Purnell

Contributor since February 5th, 2020

Editor's Note

The financial costs and burdens of aging will have a tremendous impact on not only your savings and income but your family as well. An advance plan that includes affordable Long-Term Care Insurance will provide you with independence, control, and peace-of-mind.

Many experts suggest planning before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when you still enjoy good health and can take advantage of low premiums. 

Start your research by discovering the current and future cost of extended care services where you live. The LTC NEWS cost of care calculator will show you these costs, and you can plan to address how these expenses would impact your future income, lifestyle, and legacy. 

Click here for the LTC NEWS cost of care calculator. 

Other resources are available as well, click here

Be sure to use a qualified and trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you shop for the best coverage at the best value. Since premiums can vary over 100% for the same coverage, a specialist who represents the major insurance companies can match you, your age, health, and family history to find the most affordable options. 

Find your trusted Long-Term Care Insurance specialist by clicking here

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