Women & Money: Setting an Example

It's important to have positive female role models when it comes to handling money.

Candice Helfand-Rogers By Candice Helfand-Rogers

Editor’s Note: This post is part of a project in which we are exploring why many women lack confidence when discussing money. You can read the first installment of this series here.

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Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

In recent weeks, we’ve spoken with experts who have dedicated their professional lives to helping others with their finances.

Their experiences, though varied, share one common theme – the women they counsel feel inherently separated from the concept of money management. Experts also agree on the source of the issue: The ways that girls are raised.

“It goes back to the way we are socialized as boys and girls. By the time we get to college, women are not talking about the same types of things as men — a fact that is exacerbated when we get into the work force,” Manisha Thakor told us.

Added Stacy Francis: “Women see their fathers being much more steeped in finances and money than their mothers. Money history is what shapes us in regards to how we relate to money. Some of this is actually imprinted on us as young as 4 or 5 years old.”

Without role models, many women develop bad habits and less-than-ideal attitudes when it comes to money, finance professionals say.

For instance, some women feign a disinterest in money.

“I’ve heard women say that finance is boring, but what I’ve found is that they don’t want to show their ignorance when speaking with financial professionals,” TSE co-founder Victoria Wang said when interviewed for this project. “Saying it’s boring gets them off the hook.”

Others see women deferring to the men in their lives on money matters.

“Many women unfortunately still believe that a man is a financial plan,” Francis noted. “When a woman is single, she is much more likely to take a leadership role in her finances. During a marriage is when women tend to have the least amount of say in their own finances.”

Rebecca Eve Selkowe, who coaches a younger generation on how to be fiscally fit, additionally found that “[w]omen have made so much progress socially throughout the 20th and 21st century, but financial empowerment has lagged behind.”

The tradition of disengagement from money is especially problematic for female entrepreneurs, who are tasked with handling finances not only for themselves, but for a business as well.

That is part of why we put out a call to action and asked female entrepreneurs to tell their own stories of financial struggle and success.

We are currently collecting stories from women business owners who have grappled with — and ultimately overcome — deeply engrained issues when it comes to handling money. Our hope is by sharing those stories, we’ll empower and educate women. We’ll provide positive role models when it comes to interacting with finances.

Stay tuned for their input, which we will be sharing throughout the month of July.

For all posts from this project, please click here.

Posted: June 30, 2014

Candice Helfand-RogersWomen & Money: Setting an Example