Distaff Dollar Decisions Distress Ladies

Here’s why your wife or significant other is prematurely graying.

Women between the ages of 50 and 64 are the most likely to pace the floor at night worrying about money. And most of us are spooked by money.

Those are some of the findings of a new CreditCards.com poll that showed “about six out of 10 Americans are losing sleep over at least one financial issue.”

The worrisome issues include accumulating enough in retirement savings and managing credit. (See Notes: What Keeps Us Up at Night).

But women generally have more money fears than men—68 percent to 56 percent, according to the survey.

“Women tend to take things more personally. They ask a lot more questions and worry about things more than men,” said Karen Altfest, an adviser with her own firm in Manhattan.

“What causes women to lose sleep,” said Matt Schultz, a senior industry analyst with CreditCards.com, “is men tend to make a lot of the decisions about money and women famously make less money. Put those together and it adds up to a feeling of not having control.”

What should be done?

Women sometimes need emotional support, but they also want respect, says a Long Island adviser.

“They want to be treated with seriousness, that they are meaningful and that their issues are real,” says Charles Hughes, an adviser in Bay Shore.

Altfest agrees. She believes that “women often need more hand holding” than men on money.

She also contends the men should frequently discuss finances with wives. “Just talking these things over, understanding the goals of the household, can make a big difference,” according to Altfest.

Indeed, finances can be critical in numerous ways.

“Money is the number one issue in divorce in North America,” warns Lesley-Anne Scorgie. She is the author of “The Modern Couple’s Money Guide: 7 Smart Steps to Building Wealth Together.”

Scorgie, a columnist, believes couples that prosper regularly review finances together.

Hughes, who has numerous female clients, says women are today “more often” taking control of family finances. Sometimes, he says, it is by necessity, since the husband is often the first to die.

Hughes pointed to one of his clients, Marie Pascale-Vandall, as an example of a woman who has effectively managed her money. Her first husband died about a decade ago. She was suddenly in charge of her financial life.

Pascale-Vandall, now the director of religious education at St. Aloysius parish in New Canaan, Ct., has done very well, Hughes noted. Pascale-Vandall says she has “always taken an interest in the family finances.”

Indeed, she adds, “I came from a family that stressed saving and I was taught to save first before other things.”

Consequently, Pascale-Vandall, who is 64, raised a son with her first husband and was also able to realize her dream a few years ago. She quit her full-time job with Time Magazine and “left the nine to five rat race.”

Pascale-Vandall switched to a satisfying, but less well-paying post with the church because she could afford it. And she isn’t pacing the floor at night.

 

Notes:

What Keeps Us Up at Night

The CreditCards.com poll found five categories of money problems that spook Americans:

* Saving enough money for retirement: 39%

* The ability to pay for educational expenses for yourself or a family member: 30%

* Healthcare or insurance bills: 29%

* The ability to pay your mortgage or monthly rent bill: 26%

* The ability to pay your credit card debt: 22%

About The Author

Gregory Bresiger

Gregory Bresiger is an independent business journalist from Queens, New York. His Personal Finance articles have appeared in publications such as The New York Post & Financial Advisor Magazine. He is the author of the eBooks “Personal Finance For People Who Hate Personal Finance” and “MoneySense”.