US Women's National Team & the World Cup

On July 7, 2019, the United States women’s national team won the FIFA World Cup by defeating the Netherlands 2-0. This year’s victory will be remembered for a lot of things: brilliant team soccer, exceptional stand-out performances, the degree to which celebrations are still tasteful and a host of other political and important social issues being discussed.

Now that the trophy has been raised, the one social issue that is commanding the most noise revolves around Equal Pay. In fact, while this has been an issue raised by the women’s team for quite some time, the non-soccer world is seeing reports of petitions, lawsuits, and analysis decrying the fact that the women make less than their men counterparts.

Some interesting statistics from a Moveon.org petition demanding that the United States Soccer Federation pay the women the same amount as men:

  • The US women’s soccer team has won four World Cups since the early 1990s while the men have won zero.
  • The women US soccer players earn a maximum of $260,869 for advancing to the World Cup and winning, while the maximum for male US players for doing the same thing is $1,114,429, according to an analysis from the Guardian.
  • The women’s team has generated more revenue than the men. Between 2016 and 2018, the women have brought in $50.8 million, while the men brought in $49.9 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For U.S. soccer fans, the differences were impossible to ignore – especially since the women’s victory was followed by the men’s team losing to Mexico in a regional championship just a few hours later. And of course, there were the loud chants of “Equal Pay!” raining down on the women’s team right when the victory was sealed.

Financial Literacy

Sadly, the Equal Pay dilemma is just one of a number of significant issues facing women when it comes to managing money and investing.

In fact, according to a recent study by Financial Finesse, women are also less likely than men to:

  • Have an emergency rainy-day fund
  • Take a risk tolerance assessment to determine their risk profile and invest accordingly
  • Rebalance their investments periodically to ensure they are aligned with goals and objectives
  • Feel comfortable with their debt.

It Gets Worse for Women

And if those issues weren’t enough, there are more financial challenges facing women:

  • Women have a longer life expectancy
  • In addition to the Equal Pay issue, women generally accrue less income over time because they are more likely to leave the workforce to care for children or family members
  • Less income/pay causes lower average monthly Social Security payments

A Few Tips

By considering these tips, women can address their unique financial issues and enhance their financial security.

  • Stay proactive in your family’s daily financial decisions. Be confident in your financial knowledge and prepare for unfortunate predicaments, such as a divorce or death of your partner.
  • Opt for long-term planning over crisis management while implementing specific savings and investing goals.
  • Think about taking a risk tolerance assessment and familiarize yourself with different strategies (i.e. conservative, moderate, or aggressive).
  • Make sure that your investments are allocated appropriately between cash, bonds and stocks in accordance with your risk tolerance, objectives and time horizon.
  • Periodically review and rebalance your combined investments to keep your asset allocation aligned with your strategy.
  • Whether single or married, you should establish and maintain credit in your name. Be careful about opening a joint credit card account if your husband has a bad credit history. Keep in mind that credit reports and histories are not combined when you marry.
  • Pay your credit card balance in full each month and make sure you set aside money to handle expenses in the event of a financial emergency or unforeseen job loss.
  • If married, you will probably outlive your husband, and your retirement plan should reflect that. To be more blunt: his plan won’t receive any more contributions after he dies. Increase the percentage of wages that you save and participate in your company’s retirement plan by contributing at least up to the employer’s matching percentage. If you do not have a job, you can still have a separate retirement account – fund a spousal individual retirement account in your name.
It’s hard to plan for financial wellness while juggling the responsibilities of raising kids, caring for elderly parents and working to advance your career. And as a woman, you are likely starting from a different place relative to where a man might start.

Making a successful financial plan can be difficult. A capable financial advisor can help you navigate through financial complexities to make sure that you can enjoy your day-to-day life as well as your retirement.