Power Of The Paycheck

Power Of The Paycheck

Helpful Terms & Tools




What’s in a Paycheck

Yahoo – nothing feels as good as payday, but did you know that besides paying your bills, your paycheck can actually help you meet your financial goals?

You look forward to your paycheck, sometimes counting the days until it hits your account. But besides freeing you from another package of ramen, your paycheck is actually a powerful financial tool – and lots of women don’t realize just how powerful it can be.

Remember when you started that new job and you filled out all that paperwork about deductions and auto drafts and benefits? Well, those are all choices you get to make about your financial future, and those choices can turn your paycheck into an engine that opens up new worlds of financial possibilities.

This handy guide will help you learn about your paycheck (not as simple as you might have thought) and how to manage it to provide the greatest benefit (not as complicated as you might think). We’ll tell you about how deductions can be used to help achieve financial goals, how to setup your exemptions to improve your tax withholdings, how you can take advantage of free money from your employer, and how to understand the numerous sources of income you might be overlooking.

Are you ready to take another gander at that paystub and see what your paycheck is (and isn’t) doing for you? Then read on, sister!


Here You
Will Learn

  • How to use payroll deductions strategically to save money, build investments, reduce income taxes, and pay for employee deductions
  • How to manage your income and deductions (thus affecting your take-home pay) through withholding strategies
  • How to get free money from your employer
  • How to calculate all of your sources of income to avoid over or under paying for taxes

Big Financial Impacts

All those choices you made when you first started your job – the withholdings, insurance decisions, and tax exemptions – are all things that you can use to your advantage. And they will likely need to change as your life changes because as your life changes, your financial needs change.

When was the last time you examined your paycheck to see what’s yours, what’s not, who takes it, and why?

Did You Know

You can avoid surprise income taxes by keeping track of all your sources of income (not just your paycheck). Income could include tips, gambling winnings, rental income from owned property, unemployment compensation, social security income, lottery winnings, alimony/child support, if you sell something – like a car, scholarship income, and more….



Getting Started

Why You Need To Act Now

Helpful Terms
& Tools

What To Consider

Social & Security References

Getting Started

Retirement is not something you think about every day. For one thing, you’re never going to stop working, right? But at some point you’re going to want to stop (probably) and when that day comes, you’re going to need to have money – because even though your working days have stopped you still have to pay your bills.

Start with a vision – how do you see yourself spending your time in your post-work years? That vision is your goal, and in order to reach your goal, you’re going to need to create a plan. You’re going to need to account for living expenses, travel, healthcare, and many other things. How much will you need? Where will the money come from? The answers to those questions are the backbone of your retirement plan.

So when should you make this plan, and when should you start saving for retirement? Now! Right now! Stop what you are doing and don’t put this task off for one more minute. Here’s why – after a lifetime of working, you deserve the retirement you want, not the retirement you are forced into. Women should be enjoying their retirement, not bagging groceries or handing me a cart at Walmart.

Women face an uphill battle. We start off with numerous disadvantages and are also more likely to be spending retirement on our own because we tend to live longer than our spouses or partners. On top of the income gap and time away from work to raise a family, women typically haven’t spent the time they need to make a retirement plan! Whether that’s because of fear, social programming, or something else, you owe it to yourself to break this trend. Become financially fearless. Take charge of your own retirement.

And start RIGHT NOW!


Here You

Will Learn

  • The things that get in the way of retirement for women and how to mitigate them
  • What you can do NOW to get started (getting started is the hardest part!)
  • How to improve your retirement outlook, once you do get started
  • About some great online calculators (and discuss some of their pitfalls)
  • A bit about how social security comes into play

Why Retirement is a Woman’s Issue

Women are at a disadvantage when it comes to retirement. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest one is about income. Women make .79 to every $1 earned by her male counterpart. That impacts social security contributions as well as savings and investment potential and results in women, on average, having 42% less money than men.

The Retirement Income Gender Gap


Job Earnings Gap

The average woman working full-time earns .79 cents to every $1 earned by her male conterpart.


Social Security

Lower earnings and larger caretaking responsibilities create a shortage of social security benefits


Retirement Savings

Competing demands on women’s time can make it a challenge for them to focus on long-term financial planning.


Retirement Income

These factors, plus others, including being more likely to be single later in life, result in much lower retirement income.

stats women vs men | statistics about women and money
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, US Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration, Prudential Retirement.


In addition to the income issue, there are many other factors that impact your retirement. Women often don’t make retirement a priority and procrastination is a behavior that will impact your retirement savings.

Here are some other common retirement barriers facing women and ways to mitigate them.



Women live longer. Today’s average 65-year-old man can expect to live until age 84.3; the average 65-year-old woman can expect to live until age 86.6. The earlier you start saving the better off you’ll be.



Women tend to be less financially literate. Education is the key to building a smart portfolio – you need knowledge to make decisions with confidence.



Women rely on their husbands to make financial plans. Such arrangements leave women vulnerable, especially when their husbands pass away. Take personal responsibility for your financial independence through education and personal involvement.



Women take more time off from work to focus on family. When you are working, make sure you are maximizing your retirement benefits.



Women are more likely to be stay-at-home Moms. Have your husband contribute to a spousal IRA on your behalf—up to $5,500 in 2015 (or $6,500, if you’re 50 or older).



Here’s a Biggee! Women are more likely to prioritize other financial goals over their retirement savings. Fund your retirement first, before trying to tackle things like the kids’ college funds.



Some women spend too much on health care. You can trim those costs using simple tactics, such as switching to generic medications and using in-network providers. And take advantage of the tax savings offered by a health savings account.



Women don’t take advantage of ex-spousal social security benefits. If you were married for 10 or more years and you don’t remarry, you may be eligible to collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s earnings record.


Ladies, the deck is stacked against us. So whether you are 18 or 48, get started now!


Did You Know

Because of longer life expectancies, women tend to spend their final years alone due to widowhood or divorce. Some may never marry. A woman’s retirement could last 30 years or more, often relying on a single income.

Student Loan Guide

Student Loans

Student Loans

Helpful Terms
& Tools

Repayment & References

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

College is getting more and more expensive, but a college degree is a vital credential for a young person entering the workforce. So how are you going to pay for college? The new normal is with student loans.

Women are now the majority on college campuses across the United States—representing 56% of all students enrolled as of fall 2016. A report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that on average, women hold $833 billion—or almost two-thirds—of the country’s $1.3-trillion student debt, compared to the $477 billion that men hold.

Women have made gains in the workplace but there’s still a wage gap. Although attending college costs the same for both genders, women are more burdened by student loan debt after graduating. They spend a higher proportion of their salaries on paying off debt because, well, they have lower salaries to work with than men — from the very start.

When you combine the need for more student loans to pay for school with the wage gap, it’s easy to understand why women take longer to pay off their debt. Because women struggle more to manage their loan that also means that they have to delay other financial goals.

About one-third of women experience financial difficulties, (like covering living expenses) while paying off their loans, compared to just one-fourth of men, according to the study. And a full 57% of African American women repaying student loans say they were unable to meet essential expenses within the past year.

So how do you get that vitally important degree and still achieve your financial goals? It is a tricky needle to thread, but we’re going to give you the information you need to prevent this aspect of your financial life from taking over completely. We’ll give you some background on the impact of student loans on women and why women take longer to pay off their student loan debt. Then we’ll give you some tips on how to limit that debt. We’ve got some handy calculators to help you assess pay-off strategies, and we’ll share some information on how to get some of those loans forgiven.


Here You
Will Learn

  • The impact student loan debt has on women
  • Why women take longer to pay off their student loan debt
  • Tips on how to limit student loan debt
  • Calculators to assess appropriate pay-off strategies
  • Way to get student loan forgiven

The Long Term Impact

Student loans are likely a person’s first foray into the financial world, but student loan debt has long-term consequences. From buying a car or a home to getting married and even having children, many millennials are putting off life’s major milestones because of their outstanding student loans. This has many dire effects, namely the inability to build up a good credit history early in life.

In the time period between one and four years after graduation, men paid off an average of 38 percent of their outstanding debt, while women paid off 31 percent.  Difficulty repaying student loans is also reflected in default rates, which are higher for women than for men, and much higher for black and Hispanic borrowers than for white and Asian borrowers. Women — especially women of color — are most likely to experience difficulties: 34 percent of all women and 57 percent of black women who were repaying student loans reported that they had been unable to meet essential expenses within the past year.

The struggles of college graduates with student debt can be significant, but students who leave college without completing their academic program are more than twice as likely as graduates to default on their student loans. While these borrowers may have debt amounts that are small in absolute terms, their precarious economic position without a certificate or degree to improve their prospects in the labor market means that they may be unable to repay those loans.

Student loans are pretty much unavoidable. There are many strategies to reduce the amount you need to take, and ways to mitigate the challenges they pose, but let’s start this conversation assuming you have or are going to have some serious student loan debt. What you need to know is this: like any other financial challenge you are going to face in your life, this one is manageable. With a little bit of knowledge and some hard work, you can get your student loan debt under control.


Did You Know

For many young women, the challenge of paying back student loans is their first encounter with the pay gap.