Women are Taking Control of Their Finances

Women are handling their business when it comes to household money management

More women are making financial decisions, but lack confidence in their ability.

I recently attended a seminar on women and money. The presentation, moderated by personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, discussed the findings of Prudential Financial’s 10th anniversary study on women and their financial behaviors. In the past, when it came to household finances, women often let their spouses or significant others take the lead. They traditionally had little, if any, say in the way money was handled. But times are changing. This recent Prudential study shows that women are taking the reins and stepping up to the plate.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the findings:
• The study found that 95% of the 1,250 women polled, who were between the ages 25 and 64, are actively involved in financial decisions that affect their household.
• About 25% of women are the primary financial decision makers, and 15% are the sole financial decision makers.
• Approximately 4 in 10 women are making an effort to educate themselves about financial products.
• 65% of women know how much money they’ll need to retire.

But the news wasn’t all good.

• About 64% of the women surveyed admit they have to do more work when it comes to actually planning for retirement. Only 1/3 of the study participants said they had a financial plan in place for retirement. And among those age 25 to 34, only 1 in 10 had a financial plan in place.
• Women of color are less likely to have pensions, and they were found to have less income. Black women were least likely to have a plan for retirement.
• 20% of the women weren’t sure if they would be able to retire on time.
• More women are taking part in financial decisions but say they lack confidence in their ability. They also admit to a lack of knowledge about financial products. Only about 2 in 10 women surveyed said they felt “very prepared” to make financial decisions. Consequently, this confidence gap has led some women to seek financial advice from family and friends.

The study’s findings were mixed. More women are making financial decisions, but lack confidence in their ability. If you fall into this category, there are ways that you can boost your financial confidence:

1. Educate yourself. Read financial magazines and books, attend seminars, and take classes on basic financial topics.
2. Build savings. Knowing that you have a safety net will give you peace of mind and help you move forward.
3. Schedule an appointment with a financial planner. Know where you stand with your finances and learn how to manage it.

For more on this topic, check out our three-part series on Women and Money.

Sheiresa Ngo is the consumer affairs editor at Black Enterprise.

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