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Married With Checking

Women are becoming increasingly involved in financial decisions for their households, according to a recent article.

“The female half, once limited to such weighty matters as grocery spending, is now an equal partner in long-term financial decisions such as mortgages, investments, and estate planning,” wrote Joan Raymond, in the July issue of American Demographics.

Women have an equal financial say in 75 percent of United States households, according to the article.

The wife manages finances for 28 percent of married couples, except for her spouse’s personal spending money. Another 37 percent of couples pool their money, giving the wife an equal financial say, according to the article.

“Most married couples today aren’t using Ozzie and Harriet as their role models,” said Larry Cohen, director of SRI Consulting’s Consumer Financial Decisions Group, in the article.

The change can be attributed to more women in the workplace and a change in marriage in the past fifty years, according to the article.

The average age of a bride in 1998 was 25. In 1970, the average age was 20, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Women are living single lives longer. Increased financial independence means women are making more financial decisions, wrote Raymond.

“The shift inside the home reflects the rising power of women within society in general,” she wrote. “The changing role of marriage may also play a part in women taking more control over the assets of the union.”

There’s a stereotype that women don’t make major financial decisions and “only handle chump change,” wrote Raymond.

Yet 66 percent of households financially managed by women owned mutual funds in 1998, more than the 45 percent in 1996.

In 1994, a majority of women agreed with the statement, “I sometimes feel stupid when asking questions about financial matters.” Today that figure has gone down to 44 percent.

“Among the younger generation, the financial relationship is much more equitable from the beginning,” said Melissa O’Gorman, a financial consultant, in the article.
Visit American Demographics at http://www.demographics.com