Warren is describing one of the biggest challenges many women face when it comes to money. There’s a lot to juggle between work, caring for kids and relatives, and managing the household budget, among other demands. Thinking about investing, saving for retirement and other financial goals often gets lost in the shuffle.
Women can’t afford to ignore these issues, says Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America. “There’s a huge wealth gap between men and women, caused by such things as the pay gap and the fact that women tend to spend more time out of the workforce caring for family. Our saving and investing are impacted by these things, which makes it all the more important for us to take control of our finances early on.”
Warren realized she needed to pay closer attention to her finances when, after a number of years of investing, she realized “I wasn’t really making money. I would have done as well if I had just put cash under my mattress.” It turns out Warren had been paying almost as much in fees as she’d been making on her investments.
A cross-country move from Arizona to Florida provided her with a fresh start. Working with a new financial advisor, she shifted her investments into a range of low-fee options, and she’s now much more comfortable with her returns.
That new advisor, Mitch McLendon, of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, has been a valuable sounding board for Warren’s business decisions as well as her more personal long-term goals. He has regularly offered advice on everything from setting up loan financing to talking through the various choices she might have as she phases into retirement and can focus on giving back as a volunteer to various animal charities close to her heart.
Saving and investing more
Time crunch aside, all too often the financial deck is stacked against women of all ages. For starters, the pay gap remains a stubborn stumbling block. In 2020, women earned 82.3% of what men earned, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 “Very few women push back on salary offers compared to men,” Sabbia says. “That has huge implications when it comes to your ability to save.” Boning up on negotiating skills can help turn the tables.