Logic celebrates International Women’s Day  

These days, women can achieve anything men can – in sport, business, socially and during retirement. It wasn’t always that way. International Women’s Day celebrates the progress made, but calls for continued action to achieve gender parity in all aspects of life.

International Women’s Day has been marked for over a century and is now recognised by governments, organisations and charities. Logic Wealth Planning is proud to be part of it.

Last week, Sky News asked who is Britain’s most influential woman? There were some obvious responses. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was one; the iconic founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale another. Of course, The Queen was suggested. A humorous answer of “the wife” was also given by many.

Having high-profile women in powerful and respected positions is one thing, but does this translate to equality for women in all walks of life?

When is International Women’s Day?

The day is now celebrated on March 8. The hashtag #PressforProgress will appear on social media timelines across the globe. It encourages people to do more, demand more and achieve more to create a world where men and women are equal.

Spreading the message and working towards 100% equality is the goal.

In offices, factories, colleges and community settings there will be presentations, creative performances, marches and other thought-provoking events. Every angle will be explored. Suggestions will be made and actions planned. It’s about taking positive steps forward.

In the workplace, women quite rightly command positions of power and influence. Many serve in boardrooms, and senior positions in government are held by the fairer sex. That’s how it should be.

However, it has taken Freedom of Information requests, exposés and scandals for many organisations to reveal and deal with widespread disparities in pay, responsibilities and promotional prospects between men and women.

Why don’t women organise their own finances?

That’s a very general question, but a reasonable line of enquiry. Of the many areas where women still struggle to gain a foothold or operate on a level playing field, it’s finance and income during retirement that stands out.

This is something where Logic Wealth Planning has first-hand experience. We have many women clients, but when couples come in to discuss wealth planning the man often drives the conversation. Right or wrong, men have and continue to dominate when personal finances arise.

Why is that?

According to a recent Financial Experience & Behaviours Among Women study by Prudential (here), although women appreciate the importance of planning, many feel no more equipped to do so than a decade ago!

The study had some interesting statistics. Around 44% of women are now the primary breadwinner in their households. That’s very positive. However, only 27% of married women take control of retirement planning themselves. That’s up from 14% in 2006, but it needs to be much higher – soon.

A number of factors contribute to this situation. Women still take more time away from work to support children through their early years. This is changing slowly, but attitudes by employers and governments need to change further to facilitate the switch.

Women also take more career breaks, often looking after loved ones. Historically, this has happened by default; men earned higher salaries so it made sense for the lower earner to take time off.

Unfortunately, taking that time away from careers means less training and on-the-job learning, missing out on promotions and having to play catch-up on return. It has been a barrier to progression and the ability to earn for decades.

 

What’s the answer?

As an industry, we should do more. Information about financial products should be transmitted down different channels, not just those dominated by men. That means publishing and broadcasting to women, and not just focusing on men-dominated media.

Taking control of personal finances is essential if women are to achieve income parity during retirement. That means being given easy access to information, feeling confident enough to take advice, making plans and being in a position to make the decision.

Why should women control their finances now?

The harsh truth is that when the time comes to assume control of money, investments and property, it’s at a moment when there has been heartache. A loved one has died, emotions are high and families sadly disagree about how to handle estates.

That’s when you realise financial matters should have been resolved earlier. But it’s never too late. That’s when an understanding advisor can make a huge difference. Making the call and starting the process as early as possible will pay dividends in the long run.

Discussions about retirement, investments, estate planning and other financial considerations shouldn’t happen independently. They should be joint decisions. Women should be part of the discussion. They should be part of the decision making process. They should not only understand what is involved, they should be an equal part of the final decisions taken.

If a client wishes to speak to a women first, so be it. Making clients feel comfortable, in safe hands and in control is important. It helps push for that progress. It helps offer women the financial planning parity they might believe they currently cannot access.

One thing is for sure: the Logic Wealth Planning office sees equality on all levels not as a longer-term goal, but as standard. There is always room for improvement, and we are always looking to become better at what we do.

Recognising and celebrating International Women’s Day is part of that process. It is something every office should be part of.

You can find out more on the International Women’s Day website here Or, if you’d just like a friendly chat about wealth planning, in confidence, give us a call on 0808 1234 321.