This article, entitled Disney's Newest Princess Knows A Man is Not A Retirement Plan was originally posted on Forbes.com, comes from Jayne Black, jayneblack.com.
I was reminded of this all important message when I was reading reviews about the movie “Brave.” The short overview below reads like an ancient novel, however later I will explain how it closely relates to the philosophy many of us still have today.
I read that one day Merida’s mother decides to marry her off at a young age to one of three young men that Merida does not want to marry.
What was Merida’s mother thinking when she so desperately wanted her daughter to get married at such a young age to someone not of her own choosing? Of course my mind, being immersed in financial awareness, goes to: She wants “Financial Security” for her daughter!
Jayne Black, Mrs. Wisconsin Galaxy 2012 - Founder of Saving Smart for Five Generations, International Women's Finance Coach, Professional Speaker, Writer, "Fellow" at the Wisconsin Women's Policy Institute
I wondered how many mothers and women out there still think that marriage is the answer to financial security.
Recently I was speaking with an 85-year-old woman who gave me this advice: “When you’re young you need looks, and when you’re old you need money. So make sure and get married so you have money when you’re old”. Of course, this was just her opinion, but I could not help myself from telling her to stop giving out poor financial advice!
The truth is that a man, whether you’re married or not, is not your retirement plan. Every man and woman have to personally take responsibility for own their financial stories and plan out wisely for a secure future. Being married is no guarantee that you can now just put your life on autopilot. Roughly half of marriages in the United States result in divorce and statistics are even higher for second marriages and, you guessed it, even higher for third marriages.
The second reality is that the odds of you outliving your husband are pretty high. The average age that a woman becomes a widow is 56.4. Nine of ten women will eventually become solely responsible for their financial affairs. Women tend to live longer, earn less, and save less for retirement.
This brings me back to the 85-year-old woman with whom I was speaking. Her husband had passed away and she was living alone. Because she had not owned her financial story and was on autopilot she made some bad financial decisions on her own and lent her daughter $30,000 dollars and her daughter never paid her back. She told me what a difference that money could make for her today as she was scrimping to get by on her very small monthly social security check.
So my advice to all the Meridas out there who are strong wise women: Know your facts about women and money and take pride and ownership in knowing your financial story and how to manage it, whether you’re married or not. Because your man is not your retirement plan: YOU are.
You can start today by aiming your arrow at this bit of financial empowerment: Do not rely on anyone else, like a husband or boyfriend, for your financial security. Educate yourself about money management and investing.