IN A 2008 SURVEY CONDUCTED BY PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL, 73% of women claimed to be worried about their financial future, but just as many admitted to procrastinating when it came to doing something to manage these worries. Comments made by women about their reluctance to deal with money typically run along the lines of: “It’s too technical, complicated or confusing…”, “I don’t know enough to make good decisions…”, or “I do not have the time for this…”
All these explanations betray a lurking doubt on the part of women that personal finance is something they cannot do – it’s bigger than they are. Men, on the other hand, are more apt to minimize the complexity of personal financial management or to claim expertise on the basis of knowing a few facts or principles. Interestingly enough, the antidote to both the under- and over-confident biases is education. The more women learn about investing, capital markets, and finance, the more comfortable they become with the inherent uncertainty of financial decision-making. The more men learn about these same subjects, the more cautious they become about making rash or overconfident financial choices.
We take these findings seriously in our approach to financial planning, and are committed to educating our women clients, as well as helping them make prudent financial decisions. We believe that women, in particular, face different financial issues than their male counterparts. Some are as a result of biology, culture, and our labor markets. For example, women’s longer lives, their predisposition to be the primary caretakers of children and the elderly, and their shorter workplace tenure and lower pay, mean that women often accumulate less wealth during their lifetimes, but need more, than men. But we also know there is a less visible side to women’s unique financial needs. The way women think, feel, and talk about money is different, and we believe it is imperative to take these softer realities into account.
“In a lot of cases, women don’t want to be talked to, they want to be talked with. They want to feel educated and not scared anymore. Women’s Circle is a different way to open up a conversation. Women’s Circle gives women an opportunity to get their fears out on the table, and it empowers them to realize they aren’t alone in how they’re feeling.” – Eleanor Blayney from Directions for Women
It’s more than likely you know a woman – a friend, a daughter, a mother, a colleague – who is uncomfortable engaging with the subject of personal finance. Let us help those important people – be it yourself or others – begin to talk about money in a safe and meaningful way. Be our guest to Silver Oak’s next Women’s Circle Meeting. You know – and we know – together we can learn better and get more confidence to claim the financial worth and value we deserve.
We would like to honor those who introduced us to the concept of Money Circle Gatherings, Eleanor Blayney and Elizabeth Jetton of Directions for Women. Their organization Directions for Women seeks to change the conversation around women and money.
This article is from the Summer 2014 TRANSITIONS newsletter. To view the full version, please click here to read more articles written from our advisors
Linda Cao, CFP®, is a Wealth Advisor at Silver Oak. She specializes in working with women-in-transition and in retirement planning.