Women and Money- The Confidence Gap?
Are women less capable of managing their money than men?
I want all women to understand the fallacy of this hypothesis. Forget your doubts- don’t begin to think it’s true.
Inspiration for today’s post came from a fascinating article called The Confidence Gap (link below). It made me think about the parallels between women and money.
As reported in the article, evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men. A vast confidence gap separates the sexes. Research indicates that, compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from many factors ranging from upbringing to biology.
Other studies show that success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. Men don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women. No wonder women are still underrepresented at the highest levels. To become more confident, women must stop thinking so much and just act. As the popular Nike slogan says, Just Do It.
So, how does all this relate to women and money? Does confidence play a role in taking care of our money?
Several findings point to a potential lack of confidence around financial decision-making (source: Women’s Financial Literacy Research Report, Aug 2007). Below are some common responses from a broad range of women that participated in the research. Many of these women were talented, educated and successful in their chosen careers.
“I am hopeless with money.” “I don’t have time to manage my money.” “I don’t have enough money to do anything with.” “I spend too much on the kids.” “Money was always a source of tension in our family”.
A study from The Boston Consulting Group (Oct 2009) reported that 75% of women feel they don’t consistently save and 82% of women don’t believe they can save enough for retirement. Grim results.
Could a consistent theme of low confidence be running through these findings? Are women aware that a lack of confidence around money can sabotage success even further?
Fortunately, there is much we can do to improve. The first step is awareness-understand what’s stopping you from taking better care of your money. The next is action. Try one simple step to improve your financial health. Perhaps, it’s saving more, spending less, preparing your first budget or purchasing your first stock or other investment. Small steps create momentum. Once you see progress, it’s easier to take more steps (i.e. increasing your savings from 5% to 10%). Be proud of yourself for progress, however small. And, stay motivated to keep improving.
Don’t be afraid to seek help. In my experience, most people can benefit from having a trusted financial professional in their corner. He/she will build your knowledge and confidence to take better care of your money. Best of luck- you deserve it!
Click to read the Atlantic article; The Confidence Gap
Image courtesy of theatlantic.com