Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Women Are Still Facing Money-Management Problems

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Women Are Still Facing Money-Management Problems

Article excerpt

With all the success they have achieved in the modern economic world, women are still widely presumed to face money-management issues and obstacles that don't commonly confront men.

Surveys repeatedly show, for instance, that women are more conservative in managing their own or their family's finances, and more inclined to seek the help of an adviser than is the typical do-it-yourself man.

Older women, in particular, often must overcome conditioning they received in times past that dealing with matters like cash flow, investments and financial planning was "man's work."

Women of any age will tell you they still run into many forms of institutionalized discrimination - in access to credit, for instance. This arises even though the financial markets themselves are famously impartial about whom they help or hurt.

Whatever your point of view, the differences are getting more scrutiny than ever before as the presence of women looms larger and larger in the whole business of personal finance.

"Women are making more money in the workplace, investing in company 401(k) programs, and are taking a more active role in their own financial planning," says Judith Bramson, a vice president at Aetna Mutual Funds in Hartford, Conn.

"We are finding, however, that by being too conservative, women are less likely to invest aggressively or to hold their money in an investment for the long term, possibly minimizing their opportunity for profit."

In a recent survey of fund investors conducted for Aetna by Research Corp. of America, 71 percent of the male respondents said they acted as their own financial adviser, compared to just 34 percent of the women participants.

Some see this sort of difference as natural, arising from men's supposed tendency to greater aggressiveness. The disparity might be much less, others say, as women gain more knowledge and confidence about dealing with financial risk. …

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