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Do You Have a Long-Term Financial Plan? Just 15 Percent of Women Do

Do You Have a Long-Term Financial Plan? Just 15 Percent of Women Do

Planning for the future is par for the course for many women. We knew what we were wearing Halloween night long before celebrities' costumes appeared on social media, and our next career move up the corporate ladder was mapped out months ago. But when it comes to money, it would seem, some of us struggle to think ahead.

According to the results of the recently released 2015 Money Mindset Report, just 28 percent of women have a retirement fund — and just 15 percent say they have a long-term financial plan. That's compared, the report shows, to 51 percent of men who contribute to a 401(k) or other fund, and 29 percent who claim they've got financial plans that extend through the years.

Elle Kaplan, founder of women-owned wealth management firm Lexion Capital Management, is quick to point out the gender wage gap — in which women earn just 78 cents for every dollar their male peers take home — seriously impacts a woman's ability to invest in her future.

"When a woman earns less than her coworkers, it can be incredibly intimidating to invest money," Kaplan says. But "investing is quite simply the best thing we can do for ourselves. It’s not just about earning money: Investing allows you to achieve your life goals and dreams, from retirement to traveling and starting your own business. Any life goal is achievable through smart investing."

And the time to begin investing, Kaplan says, is now. She lays out this scary example of what not saving for our futures can do: To accrue $1 million by retirement age, a 25-year-old woman would need to save $381 each month in a modest 7-percent interest-bearing account. That's hefty, for sure, but nothing compared with what a 55-year-old woman would have to invest to get the same return — $5,778 per month, Kaplan says.

The lesson? Break this particular money mold, bit by bit. "You can start building your future today with small steps," says Kaplan, "rather than having to climb a mountain later in life.

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Photo Credit: Anthony Bradshaw via Getty Images