While family dynamics have evolved over the years, it’s still largely women who take the role of caregiver for children and aging parents. That reality has major implications for how women plan financially, says Susan Kay, Vice President and Business Development Consultant from MFS Investment Management.
In an interview with UBS, Kay discusses the financial challenges that are unique to women, from saving and investing to balancing the financial worries of caring for their families and themselves.
Caring for aging parents
The majority (60%) of caregivers in the US are female.1 Taking time off from work to care for parents or even helping them financially if they experience money problems can be difficult, especially for women with their own families to support. Kay notes that the toll this takes on women can be both financial and emotional. Her advice: “Learn as much as humanly possible about our parents’ financial situation before a crisis occurs.”
Raising financially fit kids
If you want your children to make good financial decisions as adults, it’s important to be transparent with them about the financial decisions you make, Kay says. Involve them regularly in discussions about money and saving. “We have a tendency to just make decisions on behalf of our kids. It doesn’t give them the opportunity to actually learn by example. The younger they learn, like anything else in life, the stronger they’ll be as they age.”
Being financially prepared
Don’t overlook potential financial needs down the road. Kay recommends playing the “worst-case scenario game” at least once a year to help you prepare for unwanted financial surprises, such as learning your parents have run out of money and need help. “Figure out what financial measures you’ll be able to take,” Kay says. ”It's better to play it when you’re happy with a glass of wine in front of the fireplace than when it actually happens to you.”