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03.29.2024 by Tracey Daigle

Women in the Workforce and the Fed May Be Trying to Reduce Expectations

As a woman in the workforce, I know that every day I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me. The women who entered the workforce in the 1960s and 1970s (and earlier) paved the way for all of us now working. They lived through an economic and societal change that has benefited the country as a whole but to put it nicely, it was messy. In 2023, women made up 47% of the US civilian workforce. They also made up 51% of the workforce with a college degree. Women are graduating at higher rates at all levels of education from high school to doctorate programs. With all those advancements, there is still a gender pay gap and an unequal division of caregiving for children and elders. Forbes Advisor Pew Research Center Gender gains and gaps in the US - Pew Research Center Brookings

One interesting statistic is that one of the ways that the gender gap is closing is more about men’s income decreasing as opposed to women’s income increasing. The chart below shows the inflation adjusted increase and/or decrease in income for men and women since 1979 by education levels.

FAI 03.29

Childcare Benefits: One of the issues that adds to the continued gender pay gap is that of childcare. Some parents choose to be at home with their children, I was one of those. Others are limited by childcare options and costs. A new study by the Boston Consulting Group seems to indicate that offering childcare benefits to employees has economic benefits for businesses. Only 12% of workers have access to employer sponsored child care benefits but with low unemployment, this may increase. Childcare benefits for workers effectively pay for themselves, new study finds (

The Federal Reserve’s Predictions: When we discuss the Fed, we usually quote Jerome Powell as he is the Chair. The Board of Governors includes Powell as Chair, a Vice Chair and five other Governors. The Governors are appointed by the President from the current sitting governors of the Federal Reserve Banks. Often the members of the Board of Governors have differing opinions. This week Atlanta Fed president and Board of Governors member, Raphael Bostic, commented that he now believes that there will only be one rate hike in 2024. He also mentioned that when rate hikes start, they will most likely not happen in consecutive meetings. The market is still predicting up to three hikes in 2024 so we will see. Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic says he only expects one rate cut this year (

The Frances Scott Key Bridge: By now I think we have all seen the video of the bridge collapse. It is just awful. I think everyone’s first thought was about the people who were on the bridge and their families. I am so grateful that it wasn’t rushhour. Now that there has been a few days for it all to sink in, we are looking at the economic impact. The Port of Baltimore is one of the busiest in the US. FedEx and Amazon both have large distribution centers near the port. The port also has the highest volume of shipments of cars and light duty trucks. The local economy will be affected by this, but US supply line chains may be too just when we were hoping to have inflation under control. Port of Baltimore Cargo Records ( NPR The New York Times

Financial Planning/Investment Strategy Corner:

Since it is closing in on Tax Day, we have been focusing on tax related financial planning issues for the last few newsletters. I wanted to take a tax break (pun intended) and look at estate planning.

Estate planning is one of those topics that many like to put on the back burner. No one wants to think about their own death. I have sat across the table from many clients and asked for details about their estate plan only to have them admit to not even having a will. Consider this my nudge to anyone out there that is a member of this group – please spend the time to get at least a simple will drawn up. If you need an incentive, look at it as a gift to your family. If you pass away without a will, you will be leaving a mess for them to clean up.

Every state has intestate rules, these are the rules that will be followed if you die without a will. As an example, Maine’s intestate rules state that depending on who you leave behind, your estate could be divided between your spouse, your children and your parents. Your siblings can even come into play if you do not have any other family members. The question to ask yourself is – do you want the state to decide your estate plan or would you like to make those decisions? A second question is – do you want to leave a mess for your family to have to unravel? We are happy to refer you to one of the great estate attorneys that we know.

Quick Hits:

For Those of You That Have Been Asking – Here is What Dave Robinson Has Been Up To: Since Dave retired at the end of 2022, he has settled into his new life in Sarasota. And he has started writing, using the platform - Medium. He gave me permission to link to his most current writing. I hope you enjoy his writing as much as I do. Dave Robinson – Medium

Quotes to Consider:

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot, and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” Charles Dickens

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside 24 hours.“ Mark Twain.

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