Show Me the Money.
by Denise Berger
Does the thought of visiting the accountant almost cause hives to break out all over your body? Does the idea of monitoring your and your family’s investments make you so uncomfortable that you just avoid it altogether and your funds remain in a bank savings account? Do you break out into a cold sweat when someone starts talking to you about Life, AD&D, LTD, STD insurance? (huh – what are those acronyms anyway?!) Does looking at a balance sheet make you dizzy? Are you in a position of control and power over your assets or are you plodding along, holding your breath, hoping that miraculously you are adequately protected and your investments are growing? The issue becomes even more daunting when you are faced with headlines showing economic downturn, a rise in cost of living and job instability.
Remember “Show me the money,” from the movie Jerry Maguire? Used in jest, with a strong undertone of seriousness, the phrase represents a focus on results. Used in the context of finances, we use this phrase to ask about dividends, returns and investment income. But who is predominantly asking this question? Men are.
While we won’t discount the number of women who are investment-savvy, who have received their MBAs in Finance, or merely have that mathematical side of the brain on fire, many of us -smart as we are, high-earning and successful as we might be in business - find our personal investment and money management issues daunting. Betsy Schiffman in Pink’s Taking Stock article notes a study from sharebuilder.com that finds 74% of men think investing is “fun” whereas only 61% of women find it “fun”. Citing and annual “Retirement Reality Check” survey, in 2006, msnbc.com showed that “almost half of women — 48 percent — have considered the financial implications of retiring alone, compared with 36 percent of men. Yet when asked who takes the lead in planning for retirement, 45 percent of women and 65 percent of men said the husband or male partner.” There are several components to ensure your current and future financial security and growth: retirement, education, housing, investment plans for any savings, debt-management, insurance, estate planning, accounting, elderly care, and the day-to-day expenses.
If you read just one or two books like Barbara Stanny’s, Secrets of the Six-Figure Women, or take advantage of the numerous resources available online, you’ll begin to feel comfortable with the idea that managing your finances isn’t rocket science… and it is DO-ABLE, manageable - - and, yes, empowering to take that control. For example, Wife.org (Women’s Institute for Financial Education) is designed to help women take the right steps toward financial health. In one of their recent articles, “Difference Between Men and Women”, they advocate capitalizing on a female strength: tending and befriending. Like book clubs together and diet programs, we should start money clubs to help each other navigate through the financial world and learn more about what options are out there for us to consider.