Women in the United States today control 75 percent of the total personal wealth, fill more than half the jobs and earn more than half the college degrees. They make up the fastest growing sector of new business owners, the fastest growing sector of the U.S. investor base and, for the first time in history, nearly half of all substantial investors–those with more than 100 thousand dollars of investable assets are women.

The projected transfer of assets from the World War II generation to baby boomers will likely provide women with even more capital. Women stand to inherit trillions of dollars in the next decade. Yet, most American women have not yet taken the steps to educate themselves regarding their own personal financial life situation. They have not initiated the legal mechanisms through estate planning that will protect their assets, their families and themselves.

As I thought about this statistic and tried to put it into perspective…my mind kept coming back to the complexities of women’s lives…their financial awareness tends to take the “back burner” to their families children and careers…life just gets in the way.

And then reality strikes…the loss of a job; the death of a spouse; college education; retirement.

Unfortunately, when it comes to making decisions in unfamiliar territory, a lot of people tend to overlook the fact that they simply need to gather enough information on existing circumstances in order to make an intelligent decision. They instead assume that they are basically not intelligent enough to make that type of decision. When, in reality, all they probably need are just a few more facts.

As we start 2011, the average age that a woman is widowed is 56 and 80% of widows now living in poverty weren’t poor when their husbands were alive. The national poverty rate for women 65 and older is almost twice that of men. Even in the financial industry there are so many fewer women then men.

These compelling statistics underscore a fundamental truth: As women, we need to do something to ensure our financial security. As many as 90% of us will be on our own financially, managing our own money, at some time in our lives.

My goal in this column will be to bring you knowledge, confidence and empowerment in regard to your financial health. Please join me for breakfast January 25th @ 7:30am. “How do I Guarantee My Retirement Income?” RSVP–Calista @ 760-834-7200

Reesa Manning is Vice President & Senior Financial Advisor at Integrated Wealth Management and can be reached at (760) 834-7200. [email protected]

Sources: National  Center for Women and Retirement Research; US Bureau of the Census, 2005; Surviving Beyond-Happily Ever After by Joan Busick; Women & Money by Patricia M. Annino; Creating Wealth from the Inside Out by Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

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