Thursday, March 19, 2015

Women, money and the generation of hypocrites

A study by the Family Wealth Advisors Council revealed that 75 percent of very wealthy women were now serving as sole breadwinners of their households. While a majority of this population used financial advisors, they reported they weren't very happy with them.

Many of the complaints listed against the financial advisors were really services these women could ask for. Services that received the lowest ratings ranged from tax planning strategies to referrals to experts. The financial advisors did rank very high in providing financial education, which is their intended roles. Why women would expect financial advisors to provide them with services they're not paid to do is unclear, but the survey brought up a discussion I recently had about my own experience in offering financial literacy workshops.

I have found that in my workshops, women were more engaged when information was being dispensed to them. As soon as I held a class showing women how to apply the financial lessons, they were either uninterested or stopped attending future classes.

It goes to show that many women are still expecting others to take care of their finances. This was confirmed in a book I have been reading about marriage and finances, which is a series of contributions by real working and successful women who admitted that, as independent and self-sufficient they are, they secretly wished their men would just take care of them financially.

I've heard this before from personal conversations with female friends and family. Highly educated and competent women who wish they could stay home and not have to deal with earning or budgeting money. The whole topic is worthy of a specialized research topic, for it continues to perplex me as to why women want to be independent but not have to worry about taking care of finances. Raising children is definitely a factor. Just look at the rise in stay-at-home men who either work part time or not at all. Child-rearing is a demanding job, one that I have often sited as the most tiring and difficult job I've ever undertaken. And I've worked in two different demanding professions, but the rind and grind of caring for my children is by far the most strenuous.

We would think that women of a wealth bracket included in the study would be somewhat relieved of this burden. They can afford nannies, babysitters and child care, so maybe children is not the cause of our financial avoidance. Maybe we're just still wired to believe that we shouldn't have to take care of the money. Gender equality is a new phenomena. Although women have been fighting for decades to be respected as their male peers, it wasn't until the '60s that society started accepting such an idea. Or it could be that managing money is too demanding, requiring too much of our time and efforts to balance those accounts. Whatever the case may be, it appears that the struggle for gender equality has raised a generation of hypocrites. Or worse, a generation of self-entitled women who are still struggling to have it all but can't.

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