Ideas for women to improve their investment strategies on the path to a better financial future
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(BPT) - Americans in general do not save enough for retirement, and women unfortunately save even less. One reason for this is that women are paid less across the board. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 women earned 81 cents for every dollar men earned — which is actually the closest women have ever gotten to achieving pay equity in the U.S. Add to that the disproportional effects of the pandemic, which saw record job losses for women, especially women of color. This gender pay gap then has long-term effects, as it also leads to the gender investing gap.

Why women invest less

People who identify as women are investing less not only due to their lower pay overall, but also because of the roles women play in supporting and providing hands-on care for their children, elderly parents and sometimes spouses as well. Especially for women in the “sandwich generation” who take care of both children and parents, that often means putting off investing in their own financial futures — while they use any funds they have to provide for others before ensuring their own economic security.

Another setback for women is more subtle, but equally damaging. From childhood, women often identify themselves as less financially literate and less confident about investing. This can lead to hesitation when it comes to investing for retirement, even when they have the means to do so.

Due to both the pay and investment gaps, women over age 65 live on an income about 17% less than that of men — but also have a longer life expectancy, up to five years longer than men, according to this year’s report from the World Population Review. The result? A much tougher economic future.

What women can do to improve their investment outlook

To help women move further along their financial path, American Century Investments® is teaming up with community partners such as the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team KC Current and a local Kansas City artist to spearhead the “Make Your Investing Move” campaign.

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Investing is always a journey, but some best practices can help women (or anyone) be more successful at it. Here are tips for women to help them achieve investment equity, from American Century Investments:

  • Keep time in mind. Knowing your timeline helps you choose the right investments for you. Timing is also important because the longer you invest, the more your money may grow — which is a good reason to start now.
  • Discover your investing identity. Understanding your tendencies and how you make decisions can help you figure out what kind of investments to choose and how you want to manage them, whether on your own or with a professional.
  • Know your comfort with risk. All investing involves risk, so knowing your comfort level with risk — especially when the markets shift — is crucial for making decisions about your investment portfolio and helping you stick with your plan.
  • Set goals. Goals are essential for anything you want to accomplish, especially investing. Knowing what you want can help you figure out how much money you’ll need, and how much to invest to get there.
  • Do the math. A good way to know how much money to invest is knowing how much you have saved now, then estimating what you’ll need to reach your goals. You can use investing calculators to estimate and general rules of thumb to check your progress. This guide can help you understand how much you should be saving, wherever you are on the journey.

Take the pledge

Want to get started? Take the digital pledge at MyInvestingMove.com to commit to your financial self-care. “Signing” your name to a pledge increases your chances of following through on that pledge — which helps you put financial self-care on the top of your to-do list. Once you've signed, you'll receive content that will help take you through the steps of making your investing move, outlining what actions you can take and providing resources for you to learn more.

Women often say that they don’t invest because they “aren’t earning enough yet,” but actively preparing is always the best decision in the long run. You can change your own financial future and this is a great chance to begin.

Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.