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The Pandemic's Brutal Impact on Women and Their Retirement

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This International Women's Day, it's a day to celebrate women. 

But it’s also a day to take stock of the adverse effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women's finances, and what they can do to get back on track.

In fact, 40% of women have considered leaving their jobs or taking a step back from their jobs over the past year to handle the additional stress and responsibilities that they’ve had during the pandemic, said Kate Healy, the chair of the Foundation for Financial Planning, in an interview with TheStreet.

And the ramifications of that decision could be devastating on retirement savings, on Social Security benefits, and the like. “It’s s family issue,” said Healy. “And it behooves all of us to pay attention to this.”

Among other things, Healy noted women are more likely than men to be responsible for child care, homeschooling their children, and housework, and it’s affecting not only their finances but their mental health, said Healy. “And they feel guilty to take any time to do any self-care,” she said.

What can women do to reduce some of the adverse effects the pandemic has had on their finances? For starters, Healy recommends that women pay attention to their finances, create and stick to a budget, and become more financially literate. And the good news is that pandemic has helped spur that.

Women are more engaged in their finances than ever before. Some are curtailing their discretionary spending. And that’s the silver lining to the pandemic, said Healy. “If it’s helping people pay more attention to their finances and get better educated, that’s a good thing that maybe is coming out of this,” she said.

As part of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, TheStreet has been highlighting groundbreaking female leaders in our video series: Women's History, Wall Street, and Beyond. So far, we've highlighted a number of groundbreakers from our past like Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An Uncompromising Leader of the American Women's Rights Movement, The First Female Stock Broker, The First Female President of an Exchange, and The Witch of Wall Street.  

TheStreet's office is just a few steps away from the NYSE and we were there when Fearless Girl Breaks Ceiling on International Women’s Day. The Street has celebrated leaders of today like Jane Fraser, Citi's (C) New CEO, and First Female Leader of a Major U.S. Bank

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