Working Women’s Financial Capability: An Analysis Across Family Status and Career Stages

May 2014
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Summary

Women contribute more to the US economy than ever before. Women now outpace men at every level of educational attainment and currently make up 47 percent of the workforce according to the U.S. Department of Labor (2012). As working women’s earning power increases, so does their responsibility to make critical financial decisions for themselves and their household. These decisions are influenced by the unique financial challenges that women face; for example, women typically live longer than men, implying that they are more likely to live alone following the death of their spouse, and women often leave their career at the peak of their earning potential to take care of children or parents. This study increases our understanding of the unique financial needs of working women by examining key factors associated with their personal finances and identifying issues that are critical to their financial future. The study provides an overview of working women’s financial capability and documents how personal financial needs and financial behaviors vary by family status and career stage. The study concludes with a list of actions that would help to better serve working women’s financial needs.