Many women har­bor ‘tremen­dous fear of be­com­ing a bag lady’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Front Page - By Jen­nifer Harper

They may have money in their purses and a de­cent salary, but many women fear they’ll lose their in­come and end up a bag lady, forgotten and des­ti­tute.

A “star­tling” 90 per­cent of women say they feel fi­nan­cially in­se­cure, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of al­most 1,925 women re­leased on Aug. 22 by Al­lianz, a Min­nesota-based life in­sur­ance com­pany.

Al­most half are trou­bled by a “tremen­dous fear of be­com­ing a bag lady” — 46 per­cent of women over­all, and 48 per­cent of those with an an­nual in­come of more than $100,000. An ad­di­tional 57 per­cent are sorry they had not learned more about money mat­ters in school.

Such con­cerns fos­ter an ar­ray of be­hav­iors and thoughts.

Women, for ex­am­ple, are twice as likely as men — 18 per­cent to 9 per­cent — to set aside a se­cret stash of money, the study found. Roughly the same num­ber coun­seled their daugh­ters to do the same. And the fem­i­nine

thrill of shop­ping took a back seat to prac­ti­cal­ity: Two-thirds said the best thing about hav­ing money is the feel­ing of se­cu­rity it brought them, rather than buy­ing power or sta­tus.

“They want to know they can han­dle what might lie in front of them,” said Ken Dy­cht­wald, a geron­tol­o­gist who con­sulted on the project.

Women have made sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial progress, the study said, not­ing their me­dian in­come has in­creased 60 per­cent in the past three decades. They are ex­pected to con­trol 60 per­cent of U.S. wealth by 2010. Half of all stock mar­ket in­vestors also are women.

And yes, men and women have dif­fer­ent at­ti­tudes about money, which of­ten spawns dis­agree­ments be­tween the sexes. Women, for ex­am­ple, think fi­nan­cial ar­gu­ments re­volve around “power and con­trol” while men say it’s a mat­ter of trust.

AreAmer­i­can­men un­nerved by fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent women? Not likely. Ac­cord­ing to a re­lated Al­lianz poll, more than 90 per­cent found such a qual­ity to be “sexy.”

Both polls were con­ducted May 4 to July 5, and have a mar­gin of er­ror of two per­cent­age points.

Mean­while, “the adage of ‘mar­ry­ing well’ no longer works,” the study states.

In­deed, only 8 per­cent of fe­male re­spon­dents said they hoped a man would solve their fi­nan­cial woes. More than one-third con­sid­ered them­selves fi­nan­cially com­pe­tent, al­most a quar­ter said they had a fi­nan­cial part­ner­ship with their spouse and18 per­cent said they felt fi­nan­cially “em­pow­ered.” But 18 per­cent said they were con­fused and wor­ried by money.

“Moneyfears of women are com­pli­cated. They fear fail­ure, or mak­ing mis­takes. They fear they are ex­pend­able. Their fear of be­ing poor, how­ever, has topped the list for two decades,” said Ju­dith Briles, a Den­ver fi­nan­cial ad­viser and au­thor of 23 books on money man­age­ment.

It seems an in­grained girl thing, though.

“Bag lady syn­drome is a fear many women share that their fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity could dis­ap­pear in a heart­beat, leav­ing them home­less, pen­ni­less and des­ti­tute,” MSN money colum­nist Jay McDon­ald wrote in Jan­uary. “Lily Tom­lin, Glo­ria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine­and Katie Couric all ad­mit to hav­ing a bag lady in their anx­i­ety closet.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.