Like it or not, money is an emotional subject. It affects how we live and work, dictates how we spend time and influences our relationships. No wonder it can be a scary subject for many people, and like many important topics, such as conflict and self-image, women and men often deal with their finances differently.
Here are the top 10 money fears experienced by women - and what to do about them.
No. 1: "Bag lady Syndrome" The most documented female money fear is commonly referred to as the "bag lady syndrome," or anxiety about finding yourself suddenly destitute and on skid row. Lily Tomlin, Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine and Katie Couric have all reported suffering from this fear.
Solution: Susan Hirshman, author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat? urges women to take control of what they can by creating a plan that covers spending, savings and insurance coverage, and updating it every three to five years. "This way you can have a sense of worst-case scenarios and have a plan in place if the worst happens," Hirshman says. Adds Deana Arnett, financial planner based in Manassas, Va.: "Live below your means and don't have a lifestyle that eats up all your income. If you spend less than you earn and save the rest, you will be OK."
No. 2: Old Maid Syndrome Many women worry that if they don't marry, they'll never be able to support themselves, says Karen Lee, Atlanta financial planner and author of It's Only Money, So Why Does it Cause So Many Problems?
Solution: "Create your own financial plan based on your own income, and work it," Lee says. "Seeing the projections in print should help calm your fears, and prove to yourself that you can rely on yourself for financial security."
No. 3: Not Smart Enough Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, money coach and author of Wealth from the Inside Out, says she often hears women complain, "I am too stupid to learn about finance." "It's not that you are not smart enough, it is that you have not been socialized to talk about finance with others, and women tend to learn through conversation," Kingsbury says.
Solution: Kingsbury suggests starting a women-and-money club or a female-only investing group to start talking about finance.
Image: Fear of Being a "Bad Mother"
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