4 Money Traps for Women That Don’t Exist Outside the U.S. (2024)

4 Money Traps for Women That Don’t Exist Outside the U.S. (1)

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Money traps can be expected on the path to financial independence, but they can feel intensified for women.

While Forbes reports there are over 800 billionaires currently in the U.S., only 12% are said to be female. There isn’t a woman on the list until Alice Walton (the founder of Walmart’s daughter) comes in at number 15.

So, what gives? Well, a lot actually. GOBankingRates recently spoke with Kristy Kim, the CEO and founder of Tomo Credit, to help shed some light on the money traps women experience in the U.S. that don’t exist elsewhere.

The Wage Gap

“In the U.S., the gender pay gap is particularly notable, with women earning approximately 82 cents for every dollar earned by men on average, a divide even wider for women of color and recent immigrants,” stated Kim.

It’s true, unfortunately. A report published by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2023 revealed that women earned an estimated 83.7 cents for every dollar a white non-Hispanic male made. Other studies share that Black women are paid only 70%, and Latinas earn 57%.

Such a discrepancy in earnings can make investing, saving and paying off debt harder when you can barely pay bills.

The Pink Tax

When was the last time you bought something pink? The “Pink Tax” is a phenomenon that impacts women on everyday purchases simply because they are women.

Companies have been proven to not only charge more for items marketed at women instead of men, but the feminine versions often come in smaller quantities, which can add to the overall sting. It’s estimated that women pay almost $3 more for razors alone.

For an example, an everyday toolkit at Target in pink costs $9 more than the same toolkit in red.

Higher Healthcare Premiums

Higher healthcare premiums can lower your take-home pay, which women in different countries don’t have to face. And it only gets worse if you’re expecting. Women in the U.S. have the highest mortality rate related to complications that arise during birth or pregnancy.

The Commonwealth Fund reported that there are 24 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, which is almost 4x higher than in other highly developed countries. It’s speculated that inadequate prenatal care, socioeconomic inequalities that cause chronic health conditions and a high number of c-sections are to blame. Plus, women are on the hook to pay for their labor and delivery costs.

The United States is the only highly developed country without universal healthcare according to most reports. Americans notoriously spend more on healthcare costs than any other country yet still die prematurely from preventable causes, such as obesity.

“Higher healthcare costs further strain women’s financial well-being, particularly during reproductive years and later in life, with expenses related to maternity care, contraception and gender-specific health conditions,” noted Kim.

Maternity Leave (Or a Lack Thereof)

Kim estimated, “The lack of comprehensive paid family leave policies and affordable childcare options disproportionately impacts women’s careers and financial stability, as women often shoulder the primary responsibility for caregiving, leading to career interruptions and reduced earning potential.”

The Economist previously shared that the U.S. ranks 40th out of 41 countries regarding maternity leave. Luxembourg ranked 1st, offering 20 weeks for mothers and two weeks for fathers on full pay, plus 34.6 weeks for both parents on two-thirds pay.

Unfortunately, the United States is the only highly developed country without “nationwide, statutory, paid maternity, paternity or parental leave.”

This lack of available maternity leave means women lose out on income and, in some instances, may take a step back in their careers due to needing to extend maternity leave for their caregiving duties.

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What Can Women Do To Avoid These Traps?

“There are several proactive steps women can take to mitigate the impact of these money traps and empower themselves financially,” said Kim.

“Education and awareness are key; women can educate themselves about financial matters, including budgeting, saving, investing and retirement planning.”

In addition to understanding personal finance basics, Kim strongly encourages women to develop strong negotiation skills to better advocate for themselves in the workplace and secure fair compensation, promotions and benefits.

Try building a support network with other women for talking, sharing advice and networking. Learning more about women in the workforce (from women in the workforce) can give you the knowledge you need to get fair compensation and additional earning opportunities. These will help you close the wealth gap.

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4 Money Traps for Women That Don’t Exist Outside the U.S. (2024)
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