As far back as I can remember I knew I would be working with numbers. The natural progression for me went something like this: working extra math problems at home just for fun (loved math); playing cards for money with my parents (sharpened my analytical and money handling skills); counting money (loved counting my winnings); cashiering (1st non-summer job – cashier at Burger King); accounting (favorite subject in high school, but found it potentially boring as a career); banking (worked at a bank through college); finances (liked it); investments (loved it! major for Bachelor); economics (considered double Master in econ, settled with MBA). CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is on the horizon one day. So it is safe to say, that I was not intimidated by math nor money.
Even with my extensive background in math and money, I am not a robot. I am human; I am a woman. I have lived long enough to know that life is not a straight line up, but the line does go down and it loops, too! I am not exempted from challenges nor mistakes. No one is. That’s life. So, managing money wisely is more than just having knowledge. Sometimes we can know what to do, but still do something else. Why do we self sabatoge? There are a lot of issues around money. Other factors, like behavorial, relational, emotional, cultural, psychological, and sociological, affect how we handle our finances. I have a bit of understanding into these areas, as well.
So where am I going with this? In my professional experience, I observed that women were the least comfortable with dealing with money. Shocking? They are not necessarily the least knowledgeable, however, but the “other factors” are more prevalent among women (men may disguise them better). The top three factors are: socialization (beliefs around money), behavioral (money patterns shaped by past and present events), and emotional (feelings around money). Men experience these same factors, but women gets the label for being poor money managers or not being smart about money.
I believe that knowledge accounts for a small percentage on how women manage their finances. Men and women fulfill their “assumed” roles when approaching money. Men are supposed to the smartest, so he gets to act that part. On the other side, women were not traditionally expected to be financially savvy, so she fulfills her role as well. Even today in 2012, I’ll have a young twenty something bride tell me, that her husband handles all of the financial decisions or she will gushes, “Oh, I just don’t understand this stuff”. Many women have had male figures, like fathers or uncles, making financial decisions for them at a young age, so they never developed the skill or desire. It is not uncommon for women to have never seen a woman in the household involved in the household finances. I see it often where a widow is lost because the husband “always handled those things”.
In conclusion, I am not opposed to men taking the lead on financial matters. I do suggest that women get engaged as well. All financial decisions will affect her, one way or another, in the present or in the future. In Women and Money Part 2, I will share some statistic that shows why women need to get involved.
What’s your money story? I invite you take a deeper look.
This week is Women’s Money Week. Over 100+ women financial bloggers are sharing stories to inspire, encourage and empower women to take control of their finances and to reshape their financial future.
Samirian Hill, The MoneyWise Teacher, is founder and president of BudgetWise Financial Solutions, LLC, where they teach people to manage money wisely. She is a financial educator, contributing writer, financial blogger, and soon to be author. In her spare times, she enjoys golfing, reading, and cooking. To learn more go to www.budgetwisefinancial.com