Women Assume More Financial Responsibility, but Lack Confidence

To say the least, the world of personal finance is constantly changing.  There was a time when men largely assumed the responsibilities of personal finance – but today, the financial responsibilities that women take on continue to grow.  Unfortunately, their financial knowledge is not keeping up.  Moreover, as we saw in Chapter 1 of Personal Finance, Turning Money into Wealth, women face unique problems when it comes to achieving financial security. In general, women earn less money, are less likely to have pensions, qualify for less income from Social Security because they generally earn less over their lifetime, and they live longer than men. As a result, planning for their financial independence, in particular during their retirement years, is more difficult for women than it is for men.

Moreover, as reported in the USA Today article, “Women’s financial power grows faster than savvy,” they often lack confidence and tend to rate behind men in understanding financial products and their perceived ability to make financial decisions.  In fact, according to the 2012 Hearts & Wallets survey, women are 42% more likely than men to be concerned about having enough money for retirement; 49% say they are “very inexperienced” with investing vs. 34% of men; and 42% say they are “very uncomfortable” taking on investment risk compared with 28% of men.

Discussion Questions

  1. Take a look at the infographics at the top of the USA Today article “Women’s financial power grows faster than savvy.”  Clicking on the three topics in the upper right hand corner, what fact did you find most unexpected and why?  Be prepared to discuss this in class.
  2. Talk to your parents and grandparents, do you feel that this article accurately portrays how they relate to financial planning?  Be prepared to give examples and discuss these examples in class.
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