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Women & Money

Women think about money

What makes women’s financial situations different?

One of the most widely known differences that gender can have on money is the gender gap. According to the Women’s Institute for Policy Research, women made 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earned in year-round, full-time positions in 2017. Women are often the primary caregivers in households with children, which can further limit their ability to take part in the workforce. As a result, things like school, relationships, children, and retirement have different financial effects on women than they do on men.

“If a salary increase is off the table, ask for something else that will improve your work life.”

Sarah, Smile & Conquer


Look for scholarships specifically for women

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as STEM subjects, are largely dominated by men. To increase the number of women in these fields, many schools have scholarships specifically for female students.


Maintaining a Healthy Savings Mix

In Part 2 of the Science of Saving infographic series, we look at where you need to save money, from a rainy day fund to the right retirement plan….

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women and money, relationships; couple with calculator and computer reviewing finances

Talking about money

Money is one of the leading causes of divorces in the United States. More specifically, one of the biggest drivers of break-ups is when one spouse hides financial-related details from their partner, something known as financial infidelity. Financial infidelity can include hiding how much one person earns, savings accounts or other assets they have, debt in their name, or how much they’re spending.

The lack of transparency can put partners at risk if they intend to open a joint bank or credit card accounts or plan on purchasing a home together. Women in particular can be hurt by a lack of financial transparency as they are more likely to be full-time caregivers and therefore reliant on a partner for income.

Maintain your own savings account

Saving is an essential aspect of financial well-being but is especially important for women in relationships. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for partners to attempt to control the other via their finances. Transactions in joint accounts can be tracked, which can make it difficult for women to escape abusive relationships. All women should maintain a savings account under their name that’s separate from their spouse.

Financially preparing for marriage

Deciding to get married is a big commitment, both emotionally and financially. Before you make your vows, make sure you feel prepared and that you and your partner are on the same page about money.

Here are some topics to cover with your soon-to-be (or long-time) spouse:

  • Attitudes about budgeting, spending, and investing
  • Accounts to keep separate and accounts to open jointly
  • How much to spend on children down the road
  • Insurance plans for health and life
  • Plans for retirement accounts
  • Pre-nuptial agreements and the possibility of divorce
When Love, Marriage, and Money Come Together

Marriage and Money Guide

Financial Planning

Disagreements about finances can be disastrous. If you’re in a serious relationship, this free Marriage and Money guide will teach you how to have the right conversations about money. Learn what questions to ask your partner and how to get on the same financial page so you can achieve your goals together.

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Do you want to have kids?

Kids are expensive. It’s a fact of life. Planning for a child means saving up a lot of money, either as a couple or a single mother, and making a lot of tough decisions. You will have to make sacrifices, completely rearrange your budget, and take maternity leave (which can mean a significant loss of income). Like marriage, starting a family is a personal decision that you or you and your partner should discuss together.


women and money, children; older woman talking about money with a little girl holding a piggy bank

If you answered “yes” to the question above, this section is for you. Although you may have a partner to help you with children, as a woman, you will have your own unique financial needs during this time.

Medical costs

Your medical costs depend on how you choose to bring a child into the world and if there are any complications. Whether you choose a vaginal birth, C-section, adoption, or surrogacy, it’s going to be expensive. If you have insurance, ask them about what they cover when it comes to birth.

Cost of maternity leave

It’s important for working women to review their employer’s maternity leave policies when planning to have a child. Unfortunately, paid maternity leave is not a guarantee in the United States. Sometimes you get a few weeks with half your pay, sometimes you get only unpaid time, and sometimes you get lucky and receive full payment for your leave. If you have a partner, this is something you can discuss together.

Maternity leave also has a unique effect on a woman’s career that men don’t usually have to deal with. Although pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal, many women report that taking maternity leave set back their careers or that employers found other means to replace or demote them. Hopefully, this never happens to you. However, if you are worried about climbing the corporate ladder, the continuity of your career is something to consider when thinking about children and maternity leave.

Childcare costs

In addition to medical and maternity leave costs, consider the cost of childcare for infanthood, the toddler years, and beyond. Depending on how much you and/or your partner make, you may have to decide between staying home with your child and going back to work. If you are torn, you could also try working from home.

Teaching kids good financial habits

Imparting financial wisdom to your children is something every parent hopes they do, regardless of gender. It’s part of raising a strong and independent child. There are some simple steps you can take to start educating your kids about money no matter how old they are. Here are a few tips:

  • Give your children an allowance and help them make a budget
  • Teach them about saving
  • Reward them for going above and beyond
  • Be there to explain what went wrong if they make a money mistake
Talking Money with Your Kids: Teaching Your Children Good Money Habits

Talking to Your Kids about Money


Talking to your children about money regularly and in the right way fosters a lifetime of good financial habits. Learn how to talk to your kids about money at different ages and stages of their lives to promote financial independence.

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women and money, retirement; smiling retired woman

Women live longer than men. Though it sounds nice to live a longer life, it also means you likely need to save more for retirement than your male counterparts.

  • Start by learning about retirement accounts like 401(k), IRA, and Roth IRA.
  • Find a financial advisor you can trust
  • Don’t wait to get out of debt to start saving
  • Build a diverse saving and investment strategy

Get informed about investing

Investing is something you can take part in during your whole adult life. It’s an especially important thing to think about when you plan for retirement because investing grows the amount of money you can save. Stocks, bonds, and CDs are easy ways to start investing. Read our Basics of Investing page for more information.

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Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing

Find proven strategies for saving and investing, from types of investing tools you can use to step-by-step instructions for increasing wealth.

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Make sure you and your family are protected

Setting up health insurance plans, life insurance plans, and living wills is important for every family. Whether you are single or have a partner who also needs coverage, make sure to talk to your employer about health insurance plans. Also, do your research on life insurance to ensure your family is taken care of in the event of your passing.

As you get older, think about talking with your partner or another family member about end-of-life planning. Although you may not want to think about it, organizing it now instead of leaving it to your children is the best route for your family to take.

“First of all, if you’re coupled up, then you want to make sure you are the beneficiary to retirement funds and other assets in the evening that your partner passes before you. Sit down with your partner about this situation and have “the talk” to clearly figure out what’s going to happen if, and when, they pass.”

amanda grossman, frugal confessions

The bottom line: Your financial future is bright!

Hearing about the stress of money and how it affects you as a woman can feel daunting. In reality, you should only feel more prepared to build a fantastic financial future! You now understand the unique challenges you face and have access to resources that can help you get empowered to overcome them.