What women really want - financial security

What women really want - financial security
07 March 2013

DANIEL Kahneman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics, said in his TED talk: “Money does not buy you experiential happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery.”  This misery is possibly further evident for women - concerns over financial security permeate women’s daily lives, and that concern reduces life satisfaction levels.

Declining financial satisfaction = declining happiness

Researchers Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers published a detailed review, The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, in which they state happiness has declined for women across the world (they analyzed research from 147 countries) and: “the relative decline in women’s well-being is ubiquitous, and holds for both working and stay-at-home mothers, for those married and divorced, for the old and the young, and across the education distribution.”  Stevenson and Wolfers assessed: “the evolution of satisfaction across a number of domains (marriage, work, health, and finances), and while women report decreasing satisfaction in some of these domains… the one clear exception is that women have become less satisfied with their family’s financial situation.”  They further note: “declining financial satisfaction is clearly contributing to women’s declining happiness.”

One study, How American women feel when they think about financial security, showed that women tend to think about money quite a lot, and those thoughts are often emotional, creating more worry. Women were far more likely to worry about financial stability for family and security for the future.  A common theme for 45% of respondents was: “Having enough income in my family not to have to worry about money every day!” The second most common topic within the domain of material well-being concerned retirement (35%). This too was characterized by distress, such as “I think about where I will spend my retirement years and will I have enough health and money to live a decent life.”

A financial divide

Is this any wonder? Another report by the Heinz Foundation indicated that “The largest growing segment of our population is poor, elderly women.” The fact is women are living longer than men, typically an average of 3 years longer which leads to this growing segment of poor women, despite significant advances for women in employment and running their own business the financial divide still exists, far too often there is lack of equality with income and the correlated savings and pensions.

Financial issues are cited time and time again by women when it comes to levels of well-being, far more often than other domains that are strongly important to life satisfaction, such as health and emotional well-being.

Well-being and happiness is something we all crave, following the advice that cashy has previously outlined will serve to help overcome a major obstacle in life-satisfaction: “the vast majority (of women) feel somewhat or not at all financially secure.” These ‘simple’ steps could erode some doubts, free us from worry and help towards a goal of financial security.

Pic credit: freedigitalphotos.net


Please share your thoughts below – as far as you and your family are concerned, would you say that you are pretty well satisfied with your present financial situation, more or less satisfied, or not satisfied at all?


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Head of Behavioral Finance
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