Celebrating and Supporting Women's Achievements
About the Authors: Pauline Quinn and Katie Bruno are Financial Advisors Serving Women Investors in Omaha, Nebraska, Since 1982.
August 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment: 100 years of women voting.
Early suffragists spent years, and in some cases entire life spans advocating for the right to vote for women. As we reflect on the struggle for women’s suffrage, we know that it is sometimes portrayed as the successful end of a movement; the hard-won reward for decades of marches and protests. The reality is that this was a beginning.
The struggle for women’s suffrage started long before 1920 — and in many areas, has yet to end. Even in 2020, many women still face very real challenges, especially when it comes to money and their careers. As female financial advisors, we want to see more money in the hands of women and are committed to helping women with the challenges they face.
Gender Pay Gap
Women still earn less than men in the same occupation. In 2019, PayScale reported that the average woman makes $0.79 for every $1.00 that their male counterpart earns. A 2018 report by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported the median weekly earnings (wage or salary) for full-time female employees was 81% of that for male employees. The pay gap looks even worse for minority women. The 2019 PayScale report found the largest gap was for black female executives, who earn $.0.63 for every $1.00 that a white male executive earns.
Keep in mind, the gender pay gap doesn’t take into consideration other types of compensation that build wealth, contribute to retirement income and create financial security. Because women earn less, their bonuses, company-sponsored retirement plan matches and future Social Security benefits are also less.
- Bonus Disparity: ADP did an analysis of the base and bonus earnings for approximately 11,000 employees in the US between 2010 and 2016. Women received about two-thirds of the bonus income paid to men. Bonuses do not help close the pay gap between gender, bonuses make it worse. Some believe that requiring company transparency about bonuses by gender would help solve this disparity. For example: The UK requires firms to disclose earnings, including bonuses paid to women and men. The UK data supports the similar earnings and bonus gaps between women and men.
- 401(k) Matches: Companies that offer a retirement account match not only increase the overall employee compensation, but the company match also helps contribute to the employee’s long-term wealth. Employer matches are based on a percentage of earnings. Women get the same percentage match, but contributions by the employer are less because women earn less. The compounding effect of investment return over time results in fewer assets in womens’ retirement accounts.
- Social Security Benefits: Social Security benefits in retirement are based on individual earnings. If a woman’s earnings are low because of the gender pay gap, her Social Security income will be lower than that of her male counterpart. Similarly, pensions use a calculation based on the amount of time worked and earnings during that time period, so once again if a woman’s earnings are less because of the gender pay gap, her pension will also be less.
Changing the Conversation
Unfortunately, it’s difficult for any one woman or man to eliminate the harm caused by the gender pay gap and the wealth gap. However, we can be advocates for closing the gap, which starts by advocating for change. Economic empowerment is female empowerment.
Three Ways to Close the Gaps
- We can start by openly discussing salaries and the gender pay gap in the workplace. This is how the wage gap can be identified and addressed. If we don’t talk about it, we won’t make progress.
- If you are a manager or in a position to make decisions on behalf of your company, evaluate your pay scales at least once a year and review the performance measures you use to evaluate employee performance. Transparency and fair evaluations can enhance the efforts of closing the gender pay gap.
- Lastly, if you are a woman, start saving for retirement as soon as possible — and we mean as soon as you get your first job. If you are a young woman, please do not resort to thinking that you have your whole life to save for retirement, or depend on your spouse or future spouse to take care of financial matters. You have a responsibility when it comes to your money and financial success.
Helping Women Achieve Independence and Success, at Every Stage of Life
We have come a long way in 100 years. Women are making strides in equal earnings for job parity. We are starting to see more women in leadership and CEO positions. We also are starting to see more women elected as governing officials. Ladies, let’s not take another 100 years to close the gap.
Contact Morey & Quinn Wealth Partners if you would like to have a conversation on how to optimize your options and create a healthy financial future. We’re here to help you define your Well Planned Life.
Morey & Quinn Wealth Partners
Raymond James® LIFE WELL PLANNED.
Toll Free: 877.541.6593
11225 Davenport St, Suite 109 Omaha, NE 68154
Any opinions are those of Pauline Quinn and Katie Bruno, and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Raymond James does not provide tax or legal services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.
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