Once upon a time, way back in the last century when I was growing up, the underlying reason many moms wanted their daughters to go to college was to get an Mrs. degree. It was assumed that becoming the wife of an educated man meant the lady of the house would be well provided for.
No one really said it out loud, but everyone knew that finding a mate who was a good provider meant the guy already had dough and/or the ability to make a lot of it sometime in the future. So much for love and marriage. Getting a Mrs. had way more to do with earning potential than it did love.
But a lot has changed in the last half century regarding good providers.
While women today are going to college in record numbers, and moms continue to hope for a good provider marriage for their daughters, relationships aren’t what they used to be. They have gotten more complicated; divorces have become more common, same sex marriages more popular and the number of women choosing to never marry growing. As a result, a “good provider” now could be a Ms., Mrs., Mr., or include a combination of those salutations.
We know that the earning power between a Ms., Mrs., and Mr. is far from equal, although the pay gap appears to be closing a bit. And yes, there are even professions where women do earn more than men—trouble is, those are typically in lower paying careers.
According to a Glassdoor study, some careers in which women earn more than men, relative to every dollar earned, include social worker ($1.08); merchandiser ($1.08); research assistant (4.107); and purchasing specialist.
On the other hand, female computer programmers, chefs and dentists earn about 72 pennies for every $1 a guy earns in that same career.
Then there’s Amazon.
Recently, Jeff Bezon, its CEO and founder, announced that there is no gender gap in pay at his company and that men and women are paid fairly. That’s pretty close to true.
From The Huffington Post: “Women at Amazon make 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, and minorities earn 100.1 cents for every dollar that white employees earn.”
That’s good to learn. But when it comes to women in high places, only about 24 percent of women at Amazon hold managerial positions.
Even though strides are being made in the equal pay for equal work arena, it’s single women who face the biggest financial challenges.
A recent 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey by EBRI found about 40 percent of unmarried women have saved less than $1,000 for retirement.
From that survey: “Single women “lack the financial security of a dual-earner household to support their retirement savings, along with the added income associated with dual Social Security and a spouse’s retirement benefits,” said Kim Mustin, co-head of global distribution at BNY Mellon Investment Management. “
“They might also be carrying housing costs with a rental or home mortgage. If they are single mothers, they might have the sole financial responsibility of the cost of raising children,” she said.
I’ve been a Ms. all of my life and know first-hand the multitude of financial challenges single women can face. Looking only at the money-side of things, going it alone means accumulating a boat load of money to pay for a life that’s probably going to last longer than you ever expected and will cost more to fund than you ever imagined.
Save all you can, my female friends. You’ll need it.