By Thomas Kostigen
According to a recent study by Bonnier Custom Insights, working mothers are the most vulnerable segment of the working population due to the economic downturn from the coronavirus.
The report says, “81 percent of employed moms said their ability to engage effectively at work has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.” These moms report that they are experiencing anxiety or stress due to the current uncertainty in their personal life. More than a quarter say their emotional state is terrible or poor. Many are sacrificing sleep and rest because they are tasked with multiple demands, including home-schooling as well as household responsibilities.
That means working mothers are in need of financial advice now more than ever. And for financial advisors, offering that advice is not only the right thing to do, it’s also smart business. Here’s why: women are more likely to control family finances and eventually estates, as they are more likely to outlive their male spouses. At the same time, a Kiplinger study, Women, Money and Power, finds that women’s control over finance and financial issues has fallen over the past few years resulting in a majority of women felling less financially secure. This is especially true among working mothers.
“The working moms lucky enough to have avoided the virus or recovered from it are juggling jobs and child care with an intensity that has never before existed,” reports The Washington Post.
Even though women earn on average less than their male counterparts, at home they typically wear the financial pants. A YouGov US study found that 52 percent of women in a relationship and supplying half or more of the household income control the family finances. With the coronavirus straining employment, finances, and business operations (36 million Americans are out of work), women are likely feeling the stress most.
So how can working mothers get help? They can reach out to advisors who specialize in female finance — a fast-growing niche of the financial services industry. They can investigate resources made available for them by nonprofit and government agencies. The Financial Women’s Association, for example, offers myriad programs for professionals, from financial planning workshops to career coaching. Hermoney.com is another good resource. It provides budgeting, investing, financial planning and more to help women with finances. The site is run by financial expert Jean Chatzky, the TODAY Show’s financial editor. And working mothers can also network amongst themselves. Asking others (via online groups or word-of-mouth) about how they are faring during these troubled times — economic, emotional, social, and from a public health perspective— not only can bring a sense of comfort and relief that a working mother isn’t alone in her plight, it also breeds a strong sense of community. Financial advisors would be wise to reach out to these communities as well as individuals. There is a real need for financial help among working mothers, and it doesn’t look as though these times are going to pass anytime soon.
For profit and purpose, the financial services industry should get behind those who need their skills most these days. And that’s increasingly working mothers.
Thomas Kostigen is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. Thomas is a best-selling author and longtime journalist who writes about environmental, social, and governance issues.