Studies show that women are less confident than men in some areas of planning when it comes to managing money.
In the case of life transitions, such as marriage, divorce or a death in the family, money can become the thing that causes confusion and anxiety.
A recent study by Prudential reported only 20 percent of women feel “very well prepared” to make smart financial decisions. Another Prudential study reported women were twice as likely as men to describe themselves as “financial beginners.”
“It’s less than it was years ago, but so many times women, when they’re sitting down with their husband and their financial advisers, they say, ‘Oh, no. he handles that,’” said Victoria Tomaro, of Tomaro Financial Group in Wall.
Tomaro said she insists both spouses sit down with her when discussing finances.
“What if something happens to the husband? What if circumstances change in their life? The worst thing women say is, ‘I don’t know what we have,’” Tomaro said. “I’ve seen women that don’t know how to write a check, I know it’s hard to imagine that. … When husbands pass they literally don’t know how to pay the bills.”
Of course, this isn’t representative of all women. Tomaro said “tons of husbands” say their wife handles the finances, although Tomaro advocates that both parties take an active role in planning.
Forty-four percent of single women think they’re behind when it comes to saving for retirement, while 51 percent of divorced or widowed women think they’re behind, the Prudential survey said.
A 2015 State of U.S. Employee Retirement Preparedness survey said 83 percent of women and 76 percent of men either don’t know they’re on track to meet their retirement goals, or haven’t run a projection to see if they are.
“Many single women know they have to invest and they make statements (to financial planners) like, ‘I’ll give you this much to play with,’” Tomaro said. “No, we’re not playing. You really need to sit down and be interested in addressing their goals.”
Carol Cangialosi of Ocean Township said that after 41 years of marriage, she got divorced and needed help organizing her finances.
“I needed to have a game plan on what to do with my money, how to expand my money so it would coincide and provide me with the lifestyle I was used to having,” she said. “I was like a babe in the woods, I really needed some guidance. I knew a little bit about investments, but not enough to put my life savings in them.”
Cangialosi sought out Tomaro for financial help to come up with a plan for her monthly income, mortgage payment, taxes and bills.
“The biggest dilemma for a senior citizen is, do I live longer than my money or will my money outlive me?” Cangialosi said. “Actually, I think young people should sit down with a financial planner.”
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