The more I hear from the readers of Simply Savings, the more I realize how smart you all are! I asked what your favourite piece of money advice was and how it changed the way you looked at your finances, and you responded with some great tips for budgeting.
Before I post a few “Sweet deals” to brighten your Monday, there’s something we have to talk about.
Take a look at a few of the findings from a global survey about women and money:
- Women are responsible for a large percentage of global income, controlling over $12 trillion dollars in consumer spending globally
- Almost 71% of women in the U.S. workforce are mothers, and over half have children under the age of one. They also do most of the work at home: 88% say they do the grocery shopping; 85% do all the meal prep; 84% are responsible for the laundry and cleaning; and 77% handle the “household administration”
- 48% of women say that managing household finances is a major source of stress in their lives, while 81% are concerned about not having enough money for retirement.
- 47% say that time demands represent the “big stress in their lives,” with 45% expressing that they don’t have enough time for themselves
Do you see yourself in those results? Women are still doing most (or all) of the housework, but they’re also in control of the world’s money — and they’re stressed out about it. Which brings us to an interesting point, made by Blogher:
One of the most disturbing finding deals with women’s expectations of themselves. In fact 44% say that they rarely or never feel powerful. Hmmm, why is this? Why is it that we feel powerless when we control such a significant portion of the global economy and virtually run our world, both inside and outside the home? And where is the true source of a woman’s power?
The research also suggests that what makes women happy is love, health, honesty and emotional well-being. In fact, when asked what they wanted most, the respondents said: love and connections, freedom to pursue happiness and satisfaction, more balance (Amen!) and enough money to feel secure, along with the counsel to save and spend wisely.
So, what do you think? Do you feel overworked, overextended, etc., etc.? What about powerless? And is it money that makes you happy, or does love and honesty rank above that? I’d love to hear what you think of the study.
(Psst, did you read this confession, from Vanessa, a copy editor at Chatelaine: “My boyfriend locked up my credit card.” Have you ever resorted to desperate measures to deal with money stress?)
As part of a project for my grade 11 math class – many, many years ago – our teacher has us “invest” $100 of play money in the stock market and then track our stocks for a month. What did I learn? “Compound interest’ is among the most beautiful two-word phrases in the English language, but “penny stock”? Not so much.
I just read that the Royal Bank of Canada is doing something similar, offering $100,000 of “practice money” for clients to invest, trade and save with in real RBC products, online. One catch: you need to have an existing RBC account or open up a new account (very clever, RBC!). While I’d much prefer to have $100,000 of real money, I like the idea of being able to get my feet wet before diving headfirst into the swamp of self-directed investing, and without it showing up as part of my final math mark.
See you on the e-floor!
Anne Kingston, one of my favourite columnists, has a charming and still insightful piece in this week’s Macleans on, well, “marrying up.”
She’s reacting to a new book, Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped into the Romantic Dream—and How They’re Paying for It, by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake.
The argument of Ford and Drake’s book is pretty much summed up in the title, but Kingston doesn’t offer a mere snarky takedown; instead, she provides a thoughtful meditation:
“Skim more deeply—through the real-life anecdotes and beyond lines like “Mr. Rich can be Mr. Right”—and it’s apparent this isn’t a 21st-century How to Marry a Millionaire. Rather, Ford, a 41-year-old Emmy-winning television producer divorced from Harrison Ford’s son, and Drake, a 44-year-old medical doctor with an M.B.A. from Stanford who has been divorced and is remarried, adopt a satiric tone to deliver a surprisingly subversive self-help manifesto: imagine, if you can, Dorothy Parker writing for Cosmo. Many of their observations have been well-aired, to wit—women have a shelf life in terms of fertility and attractiveness; taking time out to raise children reduces women’s workplace value; women have more difficulty bouncing back from divorce. And even after decades of women graduating from professional schools in greater numbers than men, men remain the power players.”
Ten years ago, I think I would have rolled my eyes at this kind of advice. Now, I’m not so sure. Who wants to marry someone insolvent? Still, it’s hard enough getting a date, period, without having to get an audit of their latest financial statements, first.
What do you think? Should money trump love when it comes to marriage?
Ellen Roseman, an ace consumer reporter at the Toronto Star, has a short feature on how to save money on fuel – a smart and timely read since the price of gas has once again leapt over the $1 a litre hurdle, at least in Toronto. Roseman looks at the unadornedly titled book 75 Ways to Save Gas by Prius-driver Jim Davidson and offers her 10 favourite tips gleaned from the tome.
For me, the most surprising suggestion — other than the fact that there are 75 ways to do anything (who knew?) — was:
“8) Park with the hood pointing out. Backing out of a parking spot when the engine is cold takes a lot of effort (and gas). All the jockeying to park with your hood pointing out is done when the engine is warm, so it’s easy on fuel.”
My driving instructor always wanted me to park with the hood out, since backing out of a space is apparently more dangerous. I’m pleased to hear there’s a cost-saving benefit as well.