Women's Issues

 A lot of financial obstacles that may face you as a woman can affect how well you live and how you plan for your financial future.

Did you know?

  • Many women earn less than men. The national average for white females is about 74 cents to every dollar a white male earns. Black women’s earnings were 85 percent of black men’s and Hispanic women made 87 percent as much as Hispanic men (US Department of Labor, Aug. 2001)
  • In South Dakota, on average women earn approximately 76 percent of what men earn. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002 annual averages)
  • In South Dakota, 21.5 percent of all firms are women-owned. (US Census Bureau, 1997)
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001), among women, those without a high school diploma earned $303 a week, compared with $760 a week for those with college degrees. Among men, school dropouts had earnings of $409 a week, compared with $1,022 for college graduates.
  • Do you have a pension? Nationally, fewer women have jobs with pension plans (33%) than do working men (55%).
  • The average age of widowhood in the U.S. is 56. Many women will have to manage their own finances at some point in their lives. (Women live an average of 7 years longer than men.) Many women worry about being poor in retirement. Two thirds of Americans over age 55 and living in poverty are women. Of the elderly poor, 75% are women, and of those, 80% were not poor before they were widowed.
  • Have you taken time out of the work force to care for children or older relatives or parents? Many women do – the average woman spends 15% of her career out of the paid workforce to care for children or parents. That can result in less retirement income. Do you work part time? Nearly 60% of part time workers nationally are women. That too can reduce the likelihood that you will have an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
  • Did you know that the earnings gap among parents was wider than that among workers overall? Mothers earned just 2/3 of what fathers earned and this ratio held whether their children were preschoolers or of school age. (B.L.S. 2001)
  • Have you thought about how you will finance your retirement? The sources of income that Americans use to finance their retirement has changed over the years. According to Fast Facts and Figures about Social Security (June 2001) 1999 Retirement Income by Source: Americans depend an average of 38% on social security; 21% on earnings; 19% on assets; 10% on private pensions; 8% on government employee pensions; and 4% other sources.
  • Nearly two-thirds of American workers have no retirement savings account. At the same time, American’s rate of personal savings keeps dropping: in 1960, Americans saved about 7% of their disposable personal income. In 2000, the average American household saved only 1% of its disposable personal income. (US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, rev. 11/2001)

According to the US National Center for Health Statistics, women typically outlive men by nearly 7 years. And at some point 90 percent of all women will be solely responsible for managing their finances. If you’re like most women who have never had formal training or education on handling your personal finances, making day-to-day decisions about bill paying, budgeting, and saving for future goals can seem overwhelming. Read on for more information and resources on major financial topics of interest to women such as budgeting, financial planning, developing credit, finding the right job, and handling care giving issues and expenses.

Budgeting. Knowing how much money you have coming in and where it’s going out is an important first step to gaining control over your finances. Budgeting can help you track your money. If you’ve never created a budget before, or if you’d like some help fine-tuning your budget to make it work for you, click here.

Financial Planning. Increasingly, women are taking responsibility for managing their family’s finances. If you’ve never saved and invested before, how do you know where to start? For a detailed, down-to-earth explanation of the financial planning process and what to consider before using the services of a financial planner, click here.

Jobs. With the downturn in the economy, women are also now facing the very real challenge of finding a job in a soft economy. Because women typically only make 74 cents for every $1 earned by a man, finding the right job that offers adequate compensation and benefits is critical. For information on how to survive the loss of a job and how to search wisely for a new job, click here. For jobseeker information and resources in South Dakota, check out:

Caregiving Issues. Nearly 2 million American families care for aging family members at home. Women typically take on the majority of care giving responsibilities for older or ailing family members. For information and resources, check out websites of:

Quality Care for Your Child. According to the South Dakota Coalition for Children report Taking Care (2003), South Dakota leads the nation with 47 percent of children under age 6 in paid child care, as compared to a national average of 24 percent. Check out the Coalition's report about what to look for in quality childcare.

According to 2002 South Dakota Kids Count Factbook, in 1999, some 19 percent of South Dakota families with children under age 5 earned less than the federal poverty level. For information on paying for quality childcare, try South Dakota Child Care Services.

Helping your children. Every mother hopes to raise financially responsible children. Following are some helpful tips and resources.

  • Teach them about money. According to the Youth and Money Survey 1999, 30% of youth report that their parents rarely or never discuss saving and investing with them. 47% say their parents rarely or never discuss household budgeting with them. You can be different! Teaching your kids about money pays off: Research from the National Endowment for Financial Education 1998 revealed that as little as 10 hours of personal financial education positively affects students’ spending and savings habits.
  • Encourage them not to drop out of school. Staying in school and going on to college is a wise financial move for your children to make. South Dakota College Access 529 Plan (http://www.southdakota529.com/sdresidents.html) offers ways for adults to save for the future educational expenses of young people.
  • Save for your, or your child's, college education: Saving for college is one of America's family's biggest priorities. Use our college calculator to figure out how much you need to begin saving now. Other online resources include Collegeparents.org; SavingforCollege.com, or Collegesavings.org.
  • Start early: If you have younger children, you might consider some of the ideas for managing money offered at Wisepockets.com.

Additional Resources: