Women Talk Money!

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Many of us were raised to believe discussing money was taboo. In my opinion, that’s part of the reason that in 2022, the uncontrolled gender pay gap is $0.82 for every $1 that men make, which is the same as last year. It’s closing, but at a glacial rate.

When we talk about money, what’s the context? The cost of housing? The raise we expect? The cost of living and inflation, especially today? The process of setting up a budget? Do we discuss the ways having adequate funds and disposable income affect our choices of neighborhoods, schools, healthcare and child care?

Or do we ever discuss how money shapes our relationships and our entire lives, our financial points of view and how we deal with money or the lack thereof? Is it still taboo?

It can be an emotional issue. Ashley Feinstein, author and money coach at The Fiscal Femme, says, “One of the reasons we feel so alone in our money struggles is that we don’t talk about them with even our closest friends and family, so we don’t realize that our best friend sitting across from us at dinner is going through something similar. One of the reasons we don’t talk about our money situations is that we often equate our self-worth with our net worth. meaning, just because we aren’t doing well financially that somehow makes us less worthy as a person.”

Investment advisors are among the top encouragers to women about discussing money, and it’s about more than simply investing with them. Annamaria Lusardi, director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at George Washington University, family and friends are your primary source of financial information. When you avoid the discussion of money, it creates a big disadvantage that’s difficult to overcome. Women consistently score lower on measures of financial literacy, which in turn makes them less confident about discussing the subject or even asking questions.

Dawn Doebler, MBA CPA CFP® CDPA®, cofounder of Her Wealth, an initiative of Bridgewater Wealth and Financial Management in Bethesda, Maryland, reveals that financial advisers use a variety of techniques to put women at ease. In high-stress situations, such as retirement planning or divorce, “We remind clients that we’ve been through this hundreds of times with women in the same situation, and there are common themes and common questions,” says Doebler. “Women themselves are much more likely than men to say that it’s important for an adviser to educate them about such things as investment management and retirement risks.”

Blogger Sherita Rankins quotes the saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” She says that the more we talk with each other about our financial situations, we are further empowered to make smarter money choices for ourselves and our families. “Conversations are just the starting point. By becoming an active participant in the financial matters of your life, you lead yourself down roads you never knew were available,” she advises.

That point leads to the ways we learn from the experiences of other women. Marnie Masuda, in an essay titled “There Comes the Talk of Money” published in Women Talk Money, edited by Rebecca Walker, writes, “I became a widow suddenly, twice, so I suppose it gives me the dubious authority to tell people things they hope they’ll never need to know, but chances are, they will absolutely need to know.” Her first husband died in a car accident; her second husband, with whom she had made a meticulous plan to purchase, renovate and rent a historic French river barge, died when he fell off the barge and into the river. “He had recently taken a new job and let his life insurance lapse. I had invested my entire retirement fund toward the down payment on the boat.” The refund of that deposit is still in dispute in a French court. “I was also one of those women who thought I’d always have this other person by my side, so I didn’t pay much attention to the…cable bills, homeowner’s insurance, 401(k) statements. If I learned one thing early on, it’s this: you need to know all the things, all the user names and passwords, which bills are due when, what’s up with all the credit cards, because if you don’t arm yourself with all this mundane, quotidian knowledge, you’re likely to find yourself in a heap on the basement floor, sobbing.”

From her words to our ears, ladies. Learn all you can and be prepared.

Sources: payscale.com, modernwomanagenda.com, gflec.org and herwealth.com.