WTOP Interview: The Impact Of Equal Pay Day On Women And Their Wealth

Interview Transcript:

SHAWN ANDERSON: Women continue to be paid less than men for the same work and to drive that point home, today is Equal Pay Day. Women need to work until today in 2017 to make as much as men did by December 31 of last year.

HILLARY HOWARD: Joining us to talk about the impact of this pay disparity on women and their finances; Dawn Doebler Senior Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda and cofounder of Her Wealth. Hello Dawn!


HILLARY HOWARD: So let’s explore this difference in pay now between men and women and some of the issues that women face because of it.

DAWN DOEBLER: That’s right, well let’s start with some facts. In the US, on average women earn about $.80 per each dollar that a man earns and women have to work about an extra three months into 2017 to make the same amount of money that a man made into 2016. And because many of our benefits are driven off of our wages, the impact is really significant. We have lower Social Security, lower bonuses and lower pensions and one sobering statistic women 75 years and older are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty.

SHAWN ANDERSON: What impact does this have on women especially in retirement?

DAWN DOEBLER: One of the studies showed that the impact of this wage gap over time for women that are working full-time can amount to about half a million dollars in her lifetime and that’s in part because women take time out to take care of their children and increasingly take care of aging relatives. On average women are out of the workforce about 11 ½ years, so this reduced savings means that we’re really hit hard in retirement. It is also harder for us to protect our income because many of the values of insurance that our employers provide are driven off of our wages, so it lowers disability income, lowers life insurance.

HILLARY HOWARD: So individually what can women do to try to close that gap?

DAWN DOEBLER: There is a very real wage gap, so we wanted to provide some tips, we have five tips;

1.     Maximize your contributions: If you’re working maximize your contribution to your 401(k), see if you can add to an IRA if you qualify.

2.     If you’re not working and you’re married you can contribute to a spousal IRA.

3.     If you happen to be freelancing, you may be able to contribute to a SEP IRA.

4.     And we also want to encourage you to focus on education and also coaching your daughters. I have a college-age daughter, so I would encourage you to talk to your daughters about entering areas where they have higher income potential.

5.     And of course focus on education and learn about how to invest your money and continue to build your resume no matter what age you are.

SHAWN ANDERSON: Now, you at Her Wealth you’re helping women become more financially prepared; this is a big topic for you give us a couple of examples here?

DAWN DOEBLER: We are very passionate about empowering women, so we’re providing several opportunities to educate women. We certainly have a lot available on our website Bridgewaterwealth.com. We are also encouraging women to engage with us in the conversation about wealth, we’re holding events and also doing a lot of speaking engagements.

HILLARY HOWARD: All right, thanks so much Dawn. Dawn Doebler is with Bridgewater

Wealth in Bethesda, you can read more on WTOP.com/search Her Wealth.