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Marion Syversen Marion Syversen
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I love me. I love me not?

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It's February and love is in the air. Celebrating Valentine's Day really focuses my mind on love - and money.  I think about my beautiful gender and how we think about finances, and I worry about us women. 

The growing field of behavioral finance examines the differences in men and women and money. And as a woman, there is reason for worry.

Not because many of us don't make lots of money, because we do. A study by Allianz Life Insurance Company begun in 2006 found that 60 percent of women with business degrees out-earn their spouses. The study reported that the number of women earning over $100,000 has quadrupled compared to the decade before.

Why worry? Because women are terrified about their retirement years as we feel insecure about our finances. Many of us literally think we run the risk of becoming 'bag ladies.' I kid you not, chickie.

Lack of knowledge, and not lack of time, is the most daunting obstacle for women. Women are not comfortable with the lingo of financial publications and we don't like how the material is presented. 

Our brains work so differently that this lingo issue is a significant barrier and it is causing real financial hardship. 

Women want to learn. We are excited and eager to learn more about money. But we prefer to learn through personal contact. We want the learning to be fun and personal. We use the internet for some research, like our male counterparts who seek out books and web sites for investment information. But we overwhelmingly prefer a friendly and knowledgeable buddy-like professional or smart friend to personally teach us what we need to know.

And we need to know. And we know we need to know. We need to know about the kids and their education and how to pay for it. We need to know about our parents and how to be certain they are financially safe, and we need to know how to begin to figure our financial needs - how much to save, how much to withdraw - for our future retirement. We are often overwhelmed as to where to begin the intimidating process of unraveling all the bits and pieces of our financial puzzle.

And with all our concerns that we will end up a bag lady, we are not educating our daughters, or sons, about finances. Less than 20 percent of moms and only 4 percent of dads are teaching their daughters how to be financially independent. Many of the moms are simply telling their girls to have a secret stash of cash. That's simply not enough money savvy or financial education to make a young woman strong and knowledgeable about her financial future.

My Valentine's Day challenge to you, my adorable friend? I want you to do something about this lack of money knowledge. I want you to pick up a book or talk to a friend or call an advisor to begin this process. I want you to take action to address this problem that worries you in middle of the night. I want you to love yourself enough to tackle this mountain of confusion and reach out your beautiful hand for help. Because, my dear one, I am fresh out of magic dust to save you.

I challenge you to love yourself enough to have a budget that works for your brain and is understandable to the way you process information. Love yourself enough to save for your beautiful future in aged wisdom. Love yourself enough to keep debt under control. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself and your hard-earned assets.

This Valentine's Day, love yourself enough to know, in your soul, that you are smart about many things but that, perhaps, understanding finance is not your strength - but you can learn it! I want you to do for yourself what you would encourage your sister, your daughter or your best friend to do. I want you, to borrow a phrase, to just do it, girlfriend. Do it today. Because Valentine's Day is the perfect time to love yourself.

Disclosure: Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., Norumbega Financial and all other entities listed herein are separate entities, independently owned and operated. Information herein is taken from sources deemed reliable. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of WSFG.CR8928


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