American society is unfortunately lacking in financial literacy. Although lack of financial literacy hurts all people, it is probably even more important to women. Women often carry more financial burdens than men for a number of reasons.

Women are often the caregivers. They take on more responsibility for their children and for their parents. This requires a lot of time, helping to teach and monitor financial behavior. It sometimes reduces the amount of time in the workforce to build up Social Security benefits, pensions, promotions, and 401K balances. Sometimes, this results in lower pay and benefits at work.

Currently, there are more women than men attending college. While this is promising for future income, women now hold two-thirds of student debt. There are several reasons for this. When they enter the workforce, they often get paid less, so it takes longer to pay off loans, which cost more interest expense.

Divorce is a situation that affects many American families. If a lack of money is a major cause of divorce, operating two households cost more than operating one. If both spouses had not been involved in financial decision making, it becomes a major concern during a divorce. The loss of spouse is rough on everyone. Not only the emotional issues, but the financial ones can be devastating. More often, it is the woman who loses her spouse. This is because they often marry a man a few years older than themselves and women of the same age often live four to six years longer than men.

Upon the first death, almost every family suffers a loss of income. One Social Security benefit will be lost and possibly some pension income. Most survivors get 50 percent of the original monthly income from a pension. While the income takes a big hit, living expense do not reduce in half. In fact, they probably only go down about 15 percent. This is because you must still pay property tax, utilities repairs and many other expenses no matter how many people live in the house. You may even have to hire someone to do the chores that were done by the deceased.

 Studies have shown that a couple where both are 65 years old, will spend about $240,000 in s care expense in the final phase of their lives. Women will account for about $130,000 of that total. Part of these expenses is a result of longer life expectancies. This figure does not include long-term care expense. If you visit a nursing home, about 85 percent of residents are women. Decisions made decades earlier can have a major impact on later life. Knowledge is power. Take steps to improve your financial literacy and your family will be rewarded for years to come. The benefits will be well worth the effort.