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One of the more interesting trends, from my point of view as a woman, is the interest that more women are taking in finances these days. However, in light of a recent I read about on Yahoo! Finance, I’m not sure they’re taking the right interest in finances. At the risk of generalizing, I’ve noticed in my (limited) experience that women are mainly interested in frugality and couponing — how to stretch the household budget each month. This isn’t a bad thing, but monthly budgeting isn’t the whole of a well-rounded financial education, either. (Clearly, men need a good financial education as well, but traditionally men are more likely to be confident in money matters than women are.)

Here is what a post, written by Laura Rowley, points out about women and finances:

The same survey, done in a partnership between Prudential Financial, the Women’s Media Center, and The Paley Center for Media, found that about four in ten women say they do not understand mutual funds or stocks, and 82% say they need help with financial decisions. I’m assuming this needed “help” isn’t just about conferring with a life partner about what to do in the future.

Financial Education for Women

Traditionally, women have been more responsible for pinching pennies than for making long-term financial plans. However, a shift is happening. Women are more involved in the workplace, and even when they aren’t, they are still becoming more interested and involved in family finances. 84% of married women say they are involved in financial decision-making, and this is a hopeful sign. Less hopeful is the stat that says 86% of women don’t know how to choose financial products.

As a financial writer and a woman, I am very interested in seeing women with a better financial education. While it is valuable to know how to pinch pennies, pay bills and reduce debt, I also think that it is important for women to know how to get money to work for them, via investing. Even if they are staying at home, and not working, it is still important for women to have a financial education, understanding what is in a retirement plan, and how to evaluate financial products. Additionally, I think it vital that women understand how credit works.

There are many places to look for a financial education online, but you have to be careful about your sources. Look for sites that offer reliable information and insights about money. You can also read some of the following books to get a handle on finances:

  • The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
  • Oblivious Investing by Mike Piper
  • Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth
  • The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko
  • Your Credit Score by Liz Pulliam Weston
  • Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why Consumers Get Screwed, and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal by Bob Sullivan
  • The Money Book for Freelancers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs by Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Keirnan.

These books can provide you with a solid foundation for understanding how money works, investing, and what you can do for a better financial future. And they’re not just for women. Men who want to better understand money should read them, too.

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