Pandemic may be a catalyst for change with some Canadians' financial plans: Financial advisor
I have been talking about women and investing for decades and I've witnessed first-hand the strides women have made in taking control on their finances and their careers. Along the way, education levels have soared and entrepreneurship has grown while some have climbed the corporate ladder.
My point is, progress was being made… and then a pandemic hit. The result was what many are calling a she-cession. The recovery is proving to be very different this time and the lasting impact on women could prove to be challenging if they let it.
A survey released this week by CIBC found that women have shouldered a greater share of pandemic-era household labour, including working from home and remote school for children on top of day-to-day chores. However, CIBC found that the imbalance has also extended to family financial decisions.
The survey found that 61 per cent of women who responded pay the bills and 59 per cent are in charge of household budgeting. Meanwhile, 49 per cent plan their families long-term savings goals and another 48 per cent are in charge of deciding how to invest their household's money.
“With household duties rising during the pandemic environment, Canadian women are proving to be the warriors that are carrying their families through these difficult times,” Carissa Lucreziano, vice-president at CIBC Financial and Investment Advice said in a release accompanying the survey results. “It’s important to acknowledge the workload women are carrying today, but few have clear plans of their own for savings and retirement, and that could create long-term gaps in their financial well-being.”
In other words, many women have taken charge of ensuring their family gets through this difficult time. That’s a great achievement, but it is only half of the equation.
What about on a personal level?
When it comes to planning for retirement, building an investment portfolio and really knowing the financial numbers women seem to put everyone first before themselves.
CIBC found that 38 per cent of women respondents did not have an investment portfolio, only 17 per cent had a detailed plan for personal savings, income and lifestyle in retirement, while 25 per cent did not know how much money they will need in retirement.
These statistics were reinforced in a separate survey by BMO Financial Group highlighting the gender gaps around retirement. Results from an online survey conducted in November found that “women were 18 per cent less confident than men in their retirement plans, and 18 per cent less likely to know how much money they will need for retirement.”
I've written a number books on the subject, including ‘Women In the Know,’ ‘Take Charge Now,’ ‘Investment Strategies for Women’ and even a book titled ‘Get Real’ where I talked about achieving authentic success. Women and money have come a long way but we can't stop now. Financial self-care should be a priority for everyone.
Caring financially for your household is step number one. You can tick that box. However, step number two is equally important because no one will care more about you and your financial future than you.