NEARLY HALF OF WOMEN FEAR LIFE AS A BAG LADY

August 23, 2006

They may have money in their purses and a decent salary, but many women fear they'll lose their income and end up a bag lady, forgotten and destitute, according to a survey of almost 1,925 women released yesterday by Allianz, a Minnesota-based life insurance company.

  • A "startling" 90 percent of women say they feel financially insecure.
  • Almost half are troubled by a "tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady" -- 46 percent of women overall, and 48 percent of those with an annual income of more than $100,000.
  • An additional 57 percent are sorry they had not learned more about money matters in school.

Such concerns foster an array of behaviors and thoughts:

  • Women, for example, are twice as likely as men -- 18 percent to 9 percent -- to set aside a secret stash of money, the study found.
  • Roughly the same number counseled their daughters to do the same.
  • And the feminine thrill of shopping took a back seat to practicality; two-thirds said the best thing about having money is the feeling of security it brought them, rather than buying power or status.

Women have made substantial financial progress, the study said, noting their median income has increased 60 percent in the past three decades.  They are expected to control 60 percent of U.S. wealth by 2010.  Half of all stock market investors also are women.

And yes, men and women have different attitudes about money, which often spawns disagreements between the sexes.  Women, for example, think financial arguments revolve around "power and control" while men say it's a matter of trust.

Are American men unnerved by financially independent women?  Not likely.  According to a related Allianz poll, more than 90 percent found such a quality to be "sexy."

Source: Jennifer Harper, "Nearly half of women fear life as a bag lady," Washington Times, August 23, 2006; based upon: "Women, Money and Power," Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, August 23, 2006.

 

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