According to a survey, women have more control over household finances than ever. But they're still totally confused about money — should we really be surprised?
Michelle Nichols of Reuters reports on the Prudential Financial survey, which found that 95% of women have some say in their family's money management, and one fourth are in charge. Their involvement with financial planning has grown by a third in the past ten years, but they haven't gotten more confident about money management in that time — and in fact, the recession has made them less so. Thirty-eight percent didn't understand stocks, 53% couldn't comprehend annuities, and 70% wished they got better advice. Says Prudential senior VP Joan Cleveland, many women feel "there's no one I can trust."
All of which should come as no surprise to anyone, since the financial crisis basically taught us that there really is no one we can trust. And although some of the fallout from that crisis has meant slightly fairer practices from our credit card companies and banks, there's still a sense that things are in flux, the rules are changing, and it's hard to keep track of them all. Is it any wonder that some women hope to opt out of learning about credit scores and annuities? As demographer Maddy Dychtwald told us in May, younger woman are increasingly saying things like "I'd really like to have a man that could take care of me" financially. But here's the problem: men are in the dark too. Dychtwald also said, "I don't think that either young men or young women are given very much financial education so that they can spread their wings and become more independent." And the New Yorker's James Surowiecki recently called for better financial training for all. Maybe if we got that — at a young age — then women wouldn't need Prince Charming to deal with their 401(k)s.