When it comes to financial issues affecting women, the gender pay gap often takes the spotlight. But the spending side of the equation is as equally alarming. Women pay more than men for many things ranging from razors to even cars.
The higher costs aren’t necessarily due to discriminatory practices, but that doesn't make bigger bills for women any easier to manage. Here are three things that cost women more and tips on how to help lower those costs.
On average, women spend $1,136 out of pocket on health care annually. That’s 26% more than men spend in a year. Younger women between 19 and 44 usually take the biggest hit, largely due to the high cost of bearing kids. But longer lifespans for women mean greater health care costs in later years too.
If you’re looking for ways to spend less on health care, be sure to take advantage of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts to save on taxes. You can also trim spending by staying within your insurer’s network and by switching to generic drugs.
The perceived importance of appearance can plague a woman’s pocketbook. Because women can feel pressure to vary their clothing more, they typically shell out more money on fashion than men. For example, high-end designer jeans from Diesel range from $128 to $748 for men. That’s a lot, yet the price tag for women is even more staggering: $158 to $1,398.
A simple way for women to cut down on clothing costs is to build a wardrobe that’s versatile and timeless. Items such as a one-button blazer and a pencil skirt can be worn together or separately at a variety of occasions for years to come.
Females are expected to outlive males by nearly five years, on average. When you consider retirement planning, that means most women will need a bigger nest egg. Why? When you live longer, you’ll not only have more years’ worth of everyday expenses to cover but you’ll likely have medical issues related to aging that will need to be factored into your budget as well.
Luckily, women can take steps to avoid shortchanging themselves in retirement. If you’re married, boost your survivor payouts from your spouse's pension and Social Security benefits. And married or not, maximize your retirement savings throughout your career—by putting extra emphasis on retirement benefits when evaluating new jobs and making catch-up contributions once you turn 50.
Take a look at four other things that cost women more.
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.
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