It's tax season, and with the economy in the toilet, I thought I'd do a little public service announcement. Here it is:
Women: stop being idiots about money!
Recently, I heard someone say that it wasn't a good idea to have an IRA. Now, my old self (the younger, more ignorant woman that I was), would have taken that information and thought something idiotic like, "Oh, gosh, really? I guess I better not open an IRA then", but my new self (the one that doesn't know everything, but is smart enough to know what she doesn't know and to look it up and figure it out herself, and who actually already opened an IRA), knew that this information was dead wrong.
It was a landmark moment for me. Though I've had plenty of schooling, I have to say, numbers and math and money are not things I care much about. I studied liberal arts and science and care more about the less concrete (and more obscure) things. So, it is remarkable (to me, at least) that I have any workable knowledge of the financial world.
Most women, I think, are like me. We don't like to worry about money. We just want to make sure there is enough of it so that we can feed and provide for our families. We just don't want to be stressed out about it. So, sometimes, we make the mistake of being too passive with our finances. Though we like to think money is not all that important in the grand scheme of things, it actually is VERY important. Here are a few reasons why it's especially important for women to think about:
Women need to do more financial planning than men.
Women still earn 25% less than men.
Women are the ones hurt most by corporate downsizing.
Only about one woman in five receives a pension over 65.
This is all information I learned from the book above, Smart Women Finish Rich, by David Bach. I pretty much got a crash course in personal finance from this book and learned about all kinds of (surprisingly) interesting things from this book, not just about IRA's but about disability and life insurance, social security, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and college funds. The writer actually makes these topics interesting, not dry at all, by inserting numerous vignettes of real clients and investors. I found it a very fun read, actually, and finished it in only 2 days. And, I liked it so much at the time when I read it, a few years ago, that I bought both my sisters copies of the book, and a copy of Smart Couples Finish Rich for my brother and sister-in-law. I'm sure I'll be having my kids read a version of this book someday, too.
Don't let the title frighten you, either. This book is not for women who already have it "together". It's for every woman: rich, poor, unemployed, stay-at-home, new to the workforce, retired, in school, or in-debt. It will give you tools to deal with your current financial problems while also planning for your retirement and ideas on how to achieve your dreams. Please, please check it out!!!