Need Debt Help? Boost your financial literacyMar 17, 2019
Women of all ages can struggle with managing money. Boomer women have their own unique financial challenges. Some may have adopted their mother’s money management style: letting their spouse deal with the finances. Others may be involved in their managing their household finances, but not to the same extent as their partners.
If you’re a baby boomer woman who doesn’t feel comfortable with all aspects of financial management, one of the best ways to get debt help is to boost your knowledge so you can successfully manage your money going forward.
In 2018, Statistics Canada published The Economic Well-Being of Women in Canada. Women have come a long way — the report states that women’s earnings accounted for almost half (46.7 per cent) of the family’s income in in 2015. That’s an increase of 22.2 per cent since 1976.
In general, when women and men make similar incomes, there’s no gender gap in financial knowledge and confidence. Women’s financial literacy and confidence both increase when they’re more involved in household finances.
But Statistics Canada also found that, overall, women have lower financial literacy scores than men. That knowledge gender gap increases with age and is greatest among those aged 65 and over.
Why is this important? People with less financial knowledge — those who lack confidence in money management — borrow more often, have heavier debt loads, borrow against pension amounts and accumulate less wealth. Eventually, they may end up needing formal debt solutions, like a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, to help them get back on track.
How women can increase their money management confidence
- Take part in the daily management of household finances. In 2018, the Financial Planning Standards Council found that nearly four out of 10 women know “very little” about finance and investment. Nearly three out of 10 (28 per cent) said they depend on a partner or someone else to make ends meet. It’s clear that many women don’t feel confident in their ability to manage their money.
Actively managing your daily finances will help you feel more confident over time. Learn all the tasks required to keep spending and saving in balance, such as budgeting, tracking your spending and planning ahead for extra expenses, including travel.
- Learn how to communicate about money with your partner. Keep the lines of communication open, even if it means scheduling a time each week to discuss personal finances. What’s happening with investments you hold? If you have debt, discuss how you’re going to address it and how you plan to manage your money going forward. You’ll also want to have a conversation about your long-term financial goals, which may have changed over the years.
- Educate yourself. Blogs like Sixty and Me can help you understand what you need to know to keep your finances in order. Boomer & Echo provides valuable information boomers can use when making decisions about their finances. Here’s a Boomer & Echo blog about the impact of taking CPP at age 70.
Seek out seminars on financial management in Oakville, visit personal finance websites and read books. As you increase your knowledge, share what you’ve learned with your partner. You may discover new tools, such as apps that track your spending so you don’t have to manually enter information.
As a 60-something woman, you may not have had the same opportunities as younger women to develop your financial literacy and boost your confidence — especially if it was overlooked in school or at home when you were growing up. Taking the time to boost your financial literacy now can help your avoid debt and other money problems, and ensure you can enjoy your retirement.
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