Reasons why women don’t want to talk about money

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This article is based on the same study by Fidelity that I have been looking at. PT asks where does this disconnect come from? Here’s what they think:

  • women are socialized not to talk about money because it is ‘too personal’ “56 percent of respondents who have refrained from discussing finances with friends or family kept mum because money was “too personal,” while 35 percent didn’t want to share financial information with those they were close to, and 27 percent were raised not to discuss finances.” Why do women think that the conversation needs to be private? Why is this seemingly the only subject that is too personal? Women literally like talking about everything else.
  • Women are not used to talking about money – “In addition, 32 percent of women feel uncomfortable discussing money, and 16 percent feel that the issue is taboo. 26 percent claim that the topic never comes up in conversation.” This one I understand, but just because you’ve never talked about something shouldn’t necessarily make it harder to talk about. New topics are usually pretty exciting. Why do women think money is a taboo topic? Why doesn’t it come up in conversation? and the issues of money being too far in the future doesn’t make sense to me as a reason not to talk about it – most wellness topics are about the future anyways- how we are not going to age, get unhealthy, get boring, but not about not getting into a bad financial situation.
  • Women are averse to social conflict – “We worry that talking about money will make us vulnerable, make someone feel bad, or simply cross a tacit societal boundary” What is the perceived social boundary here? Are fears of money causing relational strife valid?
  • Women often have difficulty talking about money because they assume they do not know enough about the subject. “14 percent of respondents worry that talking about money would be a waste of time and 10 percent feel as though they do not understand finances well enough to talk intelligently about it.” THIS is probably the biggest obstacle, I assume, for 18-25 age group. With other wellness topics, everyone has some knowledge to bring to the table. When I tell them ‘we’re gonna talk about finance’, I’m sure they are expecting a useless conversation with a lot of crickets. How can we help women speak intelligently about finance? How do we help them realize that what they know is an important amount and worth sharing?

Once again, Kathy Murphy, president of Fidelity’s Personal Investing:

“Beneath women’s reticence to talk about money lies a lack of confidence in their knowledge of financial planning and investing. This lack of confidence is really self-imposed. Our analysis of more than 12 million investors shows that women actually demonstrated stronger saving rates than their male counterparts and enjoyed better long-term investment performance when they did engage. Unfortunately, too many women still hesitate to take control of their finances.”

What does Fidelity recommend for Women?

  1. utilize online resources
  2. Take advantage of workplace retirement guidance (see my last post on women talking about money though… there seem to be obstacles here)
  3. work with an advisor
  4. Find a financial buddy “By making time on a regular basis to discuss financial matters with a trust-worthy friend, family member, mentor or financial expert, tackling financial goals can become less overwhelming and more attainable. In the same way that “gym buddies” keep each other motivated, financial confidantes can help both parties make progress and stay accountable.”
  5. Join an online conversation