I’ve been writing about women and finances for a few months now, posting topics as I find them. Increasingly, it is easier and easier to find information –it’s everywhere, screaming at women to do something about our finances. Even while on vacation, I still couldn’t get away from the topic of financial education for women. While reading the “Asheville Citizen-Times,” I found an article by Marle Bartlett about a free seminar about the top 10 financial mistakes women make.
The article starts:
“A 52-year-old woman is $10,000 in debt because she ‘helped out’ her family — including a son who earns twice her income. A 78-year-old widow, married to a banker for more than 50 years, never learned to write a check because her husband took care of all their finances. A woman in her 20s wants to get married but is afraid to tell her partner that she is a compulsive shopper, and thus always broke.”
Powerful statements. Sad statements. Reality for some. For many.
Linda Saylor, a certified financial planner, says that women are uneducated about finances. The deadliest combination, she adds, is when women have a lack of financial education and “help” their grown children.
Saylor, from A. G. Edwards, offered a free seminar called, “Avoiding the Top Ten Mistakes Women Make with Their Money.” I wish more companies would offer sessions like these across the country.
Early last year, Rice University was commissioned by The Womenâ€™s Resource of Greater Houston to conduct a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of TWR’s free financial literacy seminars. The facts, according to the Rice Web site:
“In 2005, 1 million women declared bankruptcyâ€”150,000 more than the number of men in the same year. Women work an average of 12 fewer years than men, get less in Social Security and retirement and live longer. Roughly 90 percent of women will be solely responsible for managing their finances at some point in their lives.”
The University concluded:
“The results of the Rice study showed that TWRâ€™s seminars are having a measurable impact on the participants. On average, grades increased from less than 50 percent correct on the preseminar test to more than 70 percent on the postseminar test.”
Women need to get ahold of our finances and become educated about them too. We also need to make sure that financial planning classes can be taken in high school. Melody Hobson, from “Good Morning America,” whom I wrote about yesterday, has said that she is frustrated that young people can take home economics and wood shop, but can’t take financial planning classes. I have to agree. If we want women to know more about finances, we need to start with girls. Now.
Keep your eye open for financial seminars in your area. Google it. It’s how I got started. If you can’t get to a class, buy a book, go to the library. Just start today.