business · career · life curation

Women and Money: Problems and Solutions

Some of you may not realize this, but April is National Financial Literacy Month. As a woman, I’m fascinated by how finances factor into the lives of women. I feel that most women “know” about money, but there’s a disconnect between knowledge and application. As a financial professional (enrolled agent), I understand many of the pitfalls that women experience as regards wealth-building and debt reduction. What I intend to do with this post is offer solutions and workarounds for the most common issues that exist when it comes to women and money.

  • In most fields, women tend to earn less that their male counterparts doing the same work.

Yes, the gender pay gap is real. It doesn’t apply 100% of the time (for example, women that work in food preparation services and fast food tend to earn more than males in the same job). For most women, changing their gender just to earn more money isn’t a reasonable solution. Most women aren’t clear about how they can minimize or eliminate the pay gap that they are experiencing.

Women would do well to try to eliminate the pay gap that they experience personally. This can be done by learning what the current wage expectations are in a particular field, then comparing this to the woman’s experience, education, and location. After that, it’s a good idea to research the ways to negotiate for a pay raise, and practice the negotiation conversation with a trusted friend, mentor or advisor. If the gap is too large to be successfully negotiated, then it’s worthwhile to research and apply to different employers. Additionally, gaining additional skills can give women an advantage, making it easier to command higher wages (this can be done easily through free online education providers like ALISON, Coursera, Saylor and CPA Academy)

  • Women save money more but invest less than men.

Saving money is great, but the interest rates for savings accounts (of all sorts) is too low to keep up with the rate of inflation. As long as the money sits in savings, it’s missing an opportunity to work harder and generate a higher return. To that point, women are also less inclined to invest than men. Many women have been conditioned to see investing as “too risky”, and thus they prefer safer ways to store money (such as savings accounts).

The solution for this is to focus on investments that feel safer, and building your confidence until you are comfortable enough to take bigger risks. A good way to start investing is to purchase just one inexpensive stock, and start regularly reading about that stock’s performance. Then, invest in more stocks, adding a little more money to invest at each time. Websites like Acorns, Earnin and even Cash App are making it easier than ever to invest small amounts and to observe how the investments are performing.

  • Women have more student loan debt overall.

Education is necessary to earn a solid living, but it’s hard to move forward in life post-college when you have significant student loan debt. Due to the pandemic, many loan companies have opted to provide forbearance to loan recipients, so these recipients don’t have to pay on the student loans while trying to adjust to possible income and lifestyle changes.

There are two approaches that I recommend for studnet debt. If possible, avoid student debt by taking equivalency tests so that certain credits can be awarded without having to pay costly tuition (I wrote a book all about this, titled Degree Hacking: How to Save Money and Get College Credits in Record Time). However, if the loan debt has already been incurred, then I recommend that women research whether their employers offer student loan repayment. If not, seek an employer that does offer this benefit. Also, if the student loan rates are higher than, say, the cost of a line of credit or a home equity loan, then opt for one of these, and use that money to pay off the student loan. Yes, that does mean trading in one debt for another, but at least utilize these other funding sources can save money in the long run.

  • Women are more likely to live in poverty during their old age.

This is heartbreaking but true. Living to advanced age should automatically mean comfortable golden years, but this is not always how it works out. The best defense against lives of poverty is cultivating authentic friendships and support groups before reaching advanced age. It’s invariably more difficult to create relations when these are “needed”, so it’s best to start creating these connections before health declined occur.

Once a person is retirement age, it can be very challenging to make new friends. But websites that encourage meeting up (like Meetup), neighborhood town hall meetings, special interest groups and charities are a great way to connect with like minds and meet new friends. After creating these connections, it offers a little bit of a buffer against hard time. People are more likely to support their friends during hard time, but the key is to create mutual benefit. No one wants to feel “used”, so it’s crucial to create a relationship where both parties feel appreciated and enjoy one another’s company.

  • On the whole, women are less financially literate than men.

I recommend that all women take time to read books on finance, as well as take advantage of free webinars and workshops offered by financial institutions (such as banks, credit unions, and government and other oversight agencies, such as FINRA). Below, I provide a few links to books and articles that I find to be wonderful for learning about money.

Important Facts About Women and Money

Women & Money: 10 Facts We Should All Know

Money and Women: Myths and Facts

60+ Stats About Women and Money

Commercial Bank Regulation

MyCreditUnion Financial Literacy Resources

National Credit Union Association Financial Literacy Resources

My finance and tax-related blog (new posts starting in May 2021)

Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

I hope you all find these tips helpful, and if you need clarity on anything else, let me know in the comments!

art

Art and Cryptocurrency: The World’s Simplest Guide

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Thursday and gearing up for a fantastic weekend.

I’ve just finished attending my umpteenth blockchain and cryptocurrency webinar (by now, I should be an expert!) and I’m finally starting to make a clear connection between the art world and cryptocurrency. This has been an area of interest since I wrote a blog post a few months ago about trends that will drastically change the art world, and the first trend that I listed was cryptocurrency.

For those that are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency, there are many great online guides but one of the simplest definitions I got was from Mario Costanz and his team over at Crypto Tax Academy. He described the process of trading cryptocurrency as an exchange of value between peers, defined between the peers, as opposed to the value being set by a third entity (as is the case with fiat currency). I won’t spend too much time explaining this in depth because they do it much better than I can, though they are clearly explaining this from the tax obligation perspective.

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I also read this fantastic 3-series article by Tim Schneider over on Artsy. Part 1 gives a great overview to what blockchain and cryptocurrency is. Part 2 gives a great case study in how forward-thinking artists (and, by extension, collectors and gallerists) can participate in a cryptocurrency structure. Finally, Part 3 proposes three major issues in the art world that cryptocurrency technology could solve.

Here’s where my simple interpretation comes in: for the sake of taxes and income recognition, cryptocurrency is an asset just like art. And investing in art using cryptocurrency is similar to bartering goods and services: both sides must determine the fair market value and both sides have to recognize the exchange as a taxable event. If you’re curious about how virtual currency is defined by our current government, you can read this 2014 IRS notice (no new guidance has been issued as of today’s date). Looking at cryptocurrency like an asset, instead of viewing it as fiat money, can help a lot in understanding what it is and how to work with it.

I’m going to be learning more about this in the upcoming year, but I hope my mini-guide was helpful, and I also hope that the linked articles provide some additional clarity. Cryptocurrency is here to stay, so the more we know, the better off we are.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

 

life curation

The Podcasts That I’m Loving Right Now

Happy Hump Day, friends! We’ve made it to the middle of the work week- let’s continue to push forward. We can do this!

I’ve been concentrating on my writing for the past few days, so I haven’t been consuming a bunch of media. However, I have been listening to podcasts, since that gives my creative mind a bit of a break. So, I am going to share a few of my podcasting favorites that I’m currently listening to.

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Afford Anything with host Paula Pant is such a treat. Pant’s investigative journalist style lends itself well to her interviews with different financial experts and people who have achieved the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) lifestyle. One of my personal favorites is her interview with Natalie Sisson, who has a successful business that she runs – while living abroad.

The Side Hustle Show with Nick Loper is a treasure trove of business ideas. Start with any of them: you won’t be disappointed. Since I’m interested in becoming a published author. I’ve found the self-publishing episodes particularly helpful.

Abiola Abrams has been in the public eye for many years, but over the past several years, she’s grown a loyal following. She teaches women how to create businesses that are lucrative, serve a higher good, and are aligned with the entrepreneur’s purpose and passion. Her Spiritpreneur (TM) series covers a wide variety of topics and are very insightful. These are worth checking out!

life curation

Living Your Best Life: Take Control of Your Financial Condition

Happy Monday! Nothing like talking about money to get the week started LOL!

I previously mentioned how my divorce was the catalyst for my personal growth. Part of that growth journey included getting to know all aspects of myself all over again. I had to do some HARD work, mainly in the realm of facing my reality without letting that reality depress me.

I eased into this work by starting with the things that felt truly neutral: in my case, the most neutral things I could work on were my money and my career. I know that money is usually a charged topic when it comes to married couples,, but I handled our household finances, and I felt pretty competent when it came to budgeting. So, starting here seemed like a good idea.

April 25, 2025

I realized that, while I paid our bills on time and had automatic withdrawals for our retirement accounts, I really didn’t know much about our finances. And, now that I was handling my finances solo, I needed to get a grip on what I had already in place, and what I still needed to address.

Enter a financial binder.

A financial binder organizes your financial information, so that you have all of that data at your fingertips. You can make copies of it and provide it to trusted family members, put it in your safe (and your safe deposit box), or drop it off with your estate attorney (assuming that you have one, which you probably will, after completing the binder and realizing that an estate attorney is a wise investment). The binder is particularly useful when you’re trying to figure out the “gaps” in your financial life, be it a lack of certain advisors, under-tended accounts, or backup plans that need to be established.

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Take time to get organized (but don’t put your croissant directly on your desk!)

Financial binders are a great way to get your money organized and to give you some peace of mind. This is especially useful if you’re navigating a breakup and you need to know what areas of your financial life need to be addressed now that you’ve “uncoupled” (oh how I love that term). The best part about a binder is that you don’t have to address all of the gaps in one day: you can pace yourself, knowing that you’ve got time to get it done and, with determination and focus, you can get it all done well.

I’ve had a few versions of these, but the one available online for free through Utah State University is by and far my favorite¬†(click on the link to download it). It’s clearly written, captures a lot of information, and has a great set of instructions on the first page, so you have some solid guidance for what you’ll need before you undertake this project.

As tax day creeps closer, make it a point to start getting clear on your financial condition, whether you’re navigating a divorce/breakup, happily coupled, or satisfyingly single. Having knowledge of where you stand financially is extremely empowering and can really help you to feel inspired to improve your condition, or relaxed about where you are currently.