How Parents Can Help Their Daughters Avoid the Financial Gender Gap

(I'm honored to be featured by the Washington Post again this week!)

“I need to feed my pig!” my daughter said as she ran with the coins to her beloved purple piggy bank many years ago.

Firmly fixed in family lore, we invoke the line every time we talk about money. Want to go on a family vacation? “Feed the pig.” Want a new bike? “Feed the pig.”

Now that both of our children are teenagers and closer to living on their own, feeding their “pigs” has become a lot more complicated — and not so cute. Especially for my daughter. The statistics show that, in her lifetime, she will end up having less money than my son, and feel more uncomfortable dealing with it.

Women live longer than men but, on average, make less money in similar occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add the potential of leaving the workforce to raise children, maybe a costly divorce and higher health-care expenses than men, and you get a cocktail of factors that lead to a hangover of lower lifetime income, less personal savings and lower Social Security benefits than men.

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