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Suze Orman: Why many women struggle to save money

Financial expert Suze Orman says she gets thousands of emails from women needing help with saving, as women still battle a gender pay gap.
Posted at 9:54 AM, Mar 06, 2024

While women make up the majority of the college-educated workforce, data shows they continue to fall behind men in saving for the future.

Even in 2024, the gender pay gap remains an issue for working women in America, which leads to a lack of retirement savings and fewer options.

So we turned to nationally recognized personal finance expert Suze Orman for possible solutions. She told us, “Women say yes to everybody but themselves.” 

The host of the "Women and Money" podcast says many women contact her for help only after going through a breakup and realizing their finances are a mess.

“I have thousands of emails about this," she said. "Women say, 'I have credit card debt for the first time in my life. I don't have anything in savings.'"

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Alex Gailey, an analyst for Bankrate, agrees that part of the problem is the gender pay gap.

“Women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns,” she said.

A recent Bankrate survey found:

- 57% of women feel they are behind saving for retirement

- 26% haven’t contributed to their accounts in a year

Gailey says the data paints a troubling picture, with more women focusing their earnings on paying household expenses and citing a lack of confidence in investing.

“Women are trying to build wealth and secure their financial future in a system that wasn't really built for them in the first place," she said.

Gailey says the impact adds up to “hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.” 

How to save more for the future

So what can you do?

“You need to put the financial oxygen mask on your face first if you really want to save your kids,” Orman said, in reference to flight attendant instructions before a flight.  

Orman says passing on good financial habits to your children, especially girls, is essential. She suggests you start small, contributing a few dollars at a time.

“You get in the habit of saving, you get rewarded for it, and then you continue to do it," Orman said.

Gailey agrees and encourages all women to take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement contributions, typically through a 401(k).

“You can secure financial freedom down the line," she said, "so that you feel good when it's time to step away from work.”