Mothers Day provides another opportunity to highlight the importance of financial education for women. Financial insecurity affects all Americans, but women may be in a particularly uncertain position.
A White House Council on Women and Girls interagency report shows that working mothers provide an increasing share of American families’ earnings. Still, a significant pay gap persists. Even after accounting for factors like education or time spent away from work to be primary caregivers, studies demonstrate women still earn less than men for comparable work. This means women make smaller contributions to Social Security. As a result, they may receive lower Social Security payments after retirement.
Changes in private retirement plans are giving all workers greater responsibility for their financial futures in retirement, which makes individual savings decisions very important. Since women have lower earnings on average, it is harder for them to put as much money into these self-directed savings for retirement.
Together, these factors reduce women’s retirement income. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that, as a result, women face significant challenges in ensuring financial security in retirement.
Beyond retirement planning, giving women the resources to understand their financial situations can help all of us. Women control the majority of consumer spending. Still, 67 percent of them say they have little knowledge of financial products and services. This makes them potential targets for bad actors in the consumer financial services arena.
The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act last year was an important step to help ensure a fair, transparent, and competitive market for financial products and services, and to help protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices and from discrimination.
Part of the Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and one of our core missions is to promote opportunities for effective financial education for American consumers. We recognize that the more consumers understand about financial products and services, the easier it will be for them to make informed financial choices for themselves and their families.
MyMoney.gov has resources to help women and families think through financial choices and take charge of their financial futures. For information specific to the CFPB and for links to advice for consumers on money matters, continue to visit us here at www.consumerfinance.gov.