Sound money management is no different for women, men
“Money management tips for every woman” is how the email heralded a new book.
But why every woman? Men have to play, too.
There is no call for gender prejudice when it comes to managing money. Money is unisex.
Wash your mouth if you're about to say “everybody knows” men spend too much on sports and guns while women throw it away on clothes and hairdos. Or men have a “better head” for stocks and bonds while it takes a woman to cook a meatloaf.
That sort of stereotyping justifies too many businessmen in not talking to their wives about finances until it's too late. Even though in many homes it's the Mrs. who's better at balancing the checkbook.
Both sexes have a lot to learn about money management in this era of longer life expectancies and a government that spends like there are no grandchildren. Old age security looks shakier. People crave more financial cushion in retirement — if retirement's even possible. So here's some advice not gender-specific: Save.
Save before you take it home.
After putting away 5 percent or 10 percent, you'll learn not even to consider it part of your income for spending. And it doesn't really matter that much where it's put away.
In stocks or mutual funds, fine; 401(k) plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) better yet, for the tax advantages.
In insured bank savings, better than nothing, for the ready cash and despite skimpy interest yields. Blame the government's wild spending for that. The Federal Reserve holds interest rates near zero so as not to bust the U.S. Treasury with service charges on the national debt.
The result, though, is that the government discourages thrift, a traditional middle-class strength, nudging people to spend every cent by various forms of stimulus. Inflation lurks down the road for that sin.
Still, managing your money better than Uncle Sam does dictates saving something.
A survey by Larsson Research & Strategy, an Oregon advisory firm, finds nearly half of women fear they'll end up broke in their golden years. Some even foresee homelessness. Yet 54 percent feel not truly welcomed by a financial industry they find “male-oriented.”
The recent recession prodded women to get more involved in saving and investing strategies, the survey found. Nevertheless, financial savvy remains a minority taste. “Only 20 percent of all women have it,” says Luna Jaffe, author of “Wild Money: A Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom.”
She offers tips for women worried how far their money will or won't go:
• Start small. Mastering the little things boosts confidence. If burdened by debt, write down exactly where you are right now, noting each credit account and its interest rate. Once you know where you stand, you can begin paying the monster down.
• Do something every day to tend to your finances; even if it's just five minutes checking on accounts, organizing paperwork.
• Speak up. There are no “dumb” questions to put to bankers, accountants, financial advisers. In fact, they tend to respect clients with the gumption to doubt and question, male or female.
Jack Markowitz is a Thursday columnist of Trib Total Media. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Parks woman accused of burglarizing house
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Leechburg Area replaces standout softball coach, who was cited for shoving student
- South Buffalo planning commission signs off on revised gas compressor plan
- Rossi: Steelers will make small strides this season
- Starkey: Bucs still battlin’
- Fayette County parents charged with endangering children, cruelty to animals
- Arizona Uzi shooting that accidentally killed instructor ‘just stupid’
- Feds to protect 20 coral species
- Workers shaken by news Kittanning Foodland will close
- WPIAL coaches, QBs have concerns about using newly-approved footballs