Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Study: Fewer Women Seeking Professional Help When It Comes to Managing Money

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A new study shows fewer women are seeking professional help when it comes to managing their money. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

When it comes to handling day-to-day finances, women think they are doing pretty well. That's according to Prudential's latest research study, which was the main item on the menu at a recent breakfast panel. When asked to grade their knowledge of things like managing money or managing debt, roughly one-third of female respondents gave themselves an A.

Where they need to hit the books, however, is their understanding of long-term planning tools.

"They understand checking accounts and savings accounts and CDs, they understand credit cards, and they get what it means to have a mortgage, but they don't really get it about mutual funds as much," says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, founder of askthemoneycoach.com. "They're not as confident about their knowledge of, say, annuities."

They're also not asking for help. In fact, fewer women are actually working with a pro - 31 percent in this latest study, compared to 48 percent in 2008.

"To actually see that go backwards, I think, is shocking, surprising, admittedly disappointing," says Lori Dickerson Fouché, the CEO of Prudential Group Insurance.

Dickerson Fouché says a do-it-yourself attitude is fine, but not necessarily in all areas of life.

"We wouldn't think about necessarily opening up the hood of our car and trying to diagnose what’s gone wrong with the car, or we wouldn't think about trying to diagnose ourselves without going to a doctor, and yet, we seem to be OK that we can figure out what we need to do from a finance perspective," she says.

Of course, no adviser can guarantee a particular financial outcome, but research shows that working with a professional will likely have an impact on your financial outlook.

"Women who have financial advisors tend to do better, and they tend to feel more prepared, which reduces your financial stress," Khalfani-Cox says. "And who among us wants to be stressed?"

Take retirement planning, a big source of stress, particularly for Baby Boomers. The study found that those who work with a professional are much more likely to consider themselves on track or ahead of schedule than those who go it alone.

"It's hard to be confident about something you're not even sure what it is, and so, even trying to help define what that picture is for women, I think is really important," Dickerson Fouché says. "It's really the first step. How do I want to live, and what's that going to cost me?"

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