Women's Financial Health
Women and their Money_ Ginita Wall and Candace Bahr Appearance on KPBS San Diego
Today a report by the California Budget Project and the Women's Foundation of California found women have not shared equally in California's ongoing economic recovery. Here with a snapshot on women's financial health are my guests, Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall, both founders of WIFE.org, the Women's Institute for Financial Education in San Diego. Thank you both for joining us.
Ginita overall are women more financially empowered now than they were let's say a decade or two ago?
They certainly are. Back when we started WIFE.org, which was twenty five years ago, women were working in the workplace more and more, not like they are today, but they were bringing home the bacon but not knowing how to fry it up in the pan. So that's where we started was to educate women on the finances so that they could meet their important goals.
And Candace this California Budget Project report found that over the last two years men had stronger gains in employment and recovering from this recession than women. What is that about do you think?
Well, that's true with regard to the short period of time that they took a look at. But if you look at a broader statistic in fact 78 percent of the jobs lost were lost by men. So their downturn went down further than women. And so their bounce is actually a little bit higher.
Is that sort of the case the report also found that women's median annual earnings had dropped about two thousand dollars since 2006. This is so this was before the recession from about 33000 down to about thirty-one thousand. Doesn't sound like a whole lot except that it's actually dropped. Is that a trend you're seeing.
Well, it was a trend again with regard to what happened pretty much to everybody during this downturn. Women have had more difficulty in fact getting back to where they were, but we're beginning to see things to improving and at least in the San Diego area. OK, and Ginita, what are some of the ways that you have found that women were affected specifically by this 2008 recession.
Well, one way that women were affected by the 2008 recession is by going back to work when they could. When their husbands in construction or manufacturing lost their jobs, women started back into the workforce and actually at the beginning of the recession women's median income was going up a little bit because they were perhaps working full time rather than part-time. But many women, about half of them, are actually single moms and what they've done is very often they've moved in with other people. They've gone in with friends and started living in more group care types of places.
I want to get to something that's specific with your organization WIFE. You hold a workshop, a one day workshop at MiraCosta college, to educate divorced women about their finances. Ginita, tell us a little bit about -- hit some of the highlights of that program that you teach there.
Second Saturday, what women need to know about divorce, is actually most of the people attending at least half of them are just thinking of divorce and the rest are someplace in the process. So that's a good time to get education -- when you're just thinking about divorce. We teach them about the financial aspects of divorce, the legal aspects, the emotional aspects, and frankly, many of those women go home saying I think I'll work on my marriage this looks like a whole other set of problems rather than a solution.
Costly. And Candice when it comes to this program, your WIFE program, how many people have gone through this and you're actually branching out beside San Diego.
We've had over 8,000 women go through the program here on only a local basis and we now have a men's program at MiraCosta College, the San Elijo campus, as well as a parenting program for parents after divorce. We now also have the program in 40 other cities around the country.
People are obviously quite interested in this. Is this because of the finances, do you think Candace?
It's because unfortunately divorce is a fact of life for 50 percent of the people and it can be a very difficult financial transition. A lot of people think divorce is about the legal. Frankly, it's about the psychological and financial more so and the legal is just the way to untie the knot. So helping people understand what the issues are and helping them through it really will help them ultimately to lead a more constructive and helpful life after divorce.
Already we are out of time. I want to thank you Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall for talking with us and I want to let folks at home know that they can find out more about WIFE and about women's finances on our Web site at KPBS.org.