On Friday, one of my Facebook friends posted that she had been invited to a women-only financial seminar. She found it ridiculous and insulting, as though, in her words, “my vagina makes it difficult for me to think about money.”
Cute one-liner, but did she, a 35-year-old woman, really not know why these types of seminars can be beneficial? Apparently not — and neither did the people who left 15ish comments. Yikes.
I guess I kind of understand her view. She feels like these sorts of things condescend to women, as though they need more help than men or, worse, that it needs to be explained differently to penetrate our pretty little heads. But, uh, no.
As I pointed out in my own comment, women and men can often have different priorities, different concerns and different risk tolerance levels.
You can argue about the last one, since at least a few studies seem to be at odds. Personally, most of the women I have met are more risk averse than men. Whether learned or innate (I’m voting for the former), I truly believe the gap is there.
Speaking of gaps, there’s also the pay gap between the sexes, which affects long-term planning. Not to mention our tendency to live longer than our male counterparts. Or potentially taking off time for kids. Or putting others’ needs first, including going broke to pay for kids’ schooling.
Or, my favorite, Bag Lady Syndrom: the persistent, often irrational, fear that we will end up destitute. Around 50% of women surveyed admit to sometimes (or often) worrying that they’ll lose everything. A third of all upper-class women surveyed admitted to these fears.
So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that women may benefit from more personalized advice. Perhaps they’ll learn that it’s okay to take more risks. Maybe they’ll get help to create a plan that covers more of their concerns. Maybe they’ll get nothing extra out of it whatsoever and would have been fine with a regular, unisex seminar. But I think it’s worth looking into.
My friend has already had her kids, so that’s not an issue. But she’s also been the primary breadwinner for 11 years, since her husband finally got his PhD two years ago. Which means they’re still dealing with student debt too. The entire time, they had at least one kid. (They’re up to number three.) And by breadwinner, I mean she’s either a receptionist or a paralegal (hard to tell from some of her comments). We’re not talking about raking in big bucks here.
In other words, she probably has a few different financial concerns and priorities than a 20-something, single, male investor. Or even a 30-something one. I hope that she gets over the vag jokes long enough to at least consider stopping in.