Women and Wealth

By Gail MarksJarvis
Chicago Tribune.

If you’re a woman who has resented the size of your paycheck compared to those going to men, Sallie Krawcheck presents a solution.

In a speech to almost 2,000 financial advisers at the annual Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago last week, she urged advisers to help women close the gap. On average women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make. That’s called the gender gap.

Most advisers, of course, aren’t going to give salary negotiation, career counseling or job search help to women clients. But Krawcheck used the prominent national stage to make two points to professionals from her industry: Financial advisers are losing women clients because they are ignoring women’s needs, and the U.S. economy isn’t living up to its potential because women aren’t maximizing their potential wealth.

Krawcheck, who has built celebrity status in the financial business since getting fired from a Wall Street executive-level job, heads a women’s group called Ellevate Network. She claims businesses short-change themselves by missing women’s perspectives in the executive suite and that the financial services industry has cut itself off from trillions of dollars in women’s wealth.

In the years ahead, the impact of poor financial management will be evident in the economy as large numbers of women end up alone in retirement without the money they will need, she said. A $14 trillion retirement savings gap is likely to weigh more heavily on women than men because women live on average six years longer than men and consequently exhaust household savings.

Hints of the problem can be seen by taking a trip to a nursing home. Most are filled with women, often widows, who live on medicaid after their savings have run out.

“Eighty percent of men die married,” said Krawcheck. “Eighty percent of women die unmarried.”

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