In an NPR article entitled “When Planning For The Future, Women Have Been Hands Off,” the writer sees generations of late 20th century and early 21st century women as see-sawing between being hands-on and hands-off about financial planning.
Jane Austen began Pride and Prejudice, her classic 19th century novel and critique of marriage, money, and manners with: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
The NPR piece starts with a line that seems to reference Austen: “It’s a truism in the financial industry that women need to get more out of their money than men since they live longer and make less, especially if they take time out to care for children or aging parents.”
The news outlet interviewed Cindy Hounsell, president of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, who discussed how women are afraid they’ll run out of money (the article uses the movie Blue Jasmine to illustrate this point) while they are also fear the risks associated with investments. She thinks the women that do decide to get financial planning help may be turned off by the fact that financial planners are ‘overwhelmingly older, white men’ who tend to overwhelm them ‘industry jargon.’ Hounsell, who herself has spent years counseling women on finance, has found that women prefer a more personal approach.
While some online commenters felt the tone of the NPR piece was not complimentary towards women, we would urge women to consider how to best work towards their financial goals. Some women truly enjoy investing and learning more about financial markets; other women may not really find investing all that interesting but they still need to find a way to prioritize their financial wellbeing.
Fee-Only financial planner Claire Emory MBA, CFA, CFP, of Clarity Financial Planning is dedicated to helping people, especially women, take care of themselves and the people they love and she believes in taking a holistic approach to financial planning with all of her clients.