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Fear of Commitment - to Investing

A new survey of the investment expectations of several hundred students at 10 colleges finds that although women express more confidence than in a 1996 survey, they still lag behind men.
A new survey of the investment expectations of several hundred students at 10 colleges finds that although women express more confidence than in a 1996 survey, they still lag behind men.

At the same time, social and economic shifts are increasing women's need for a strong financial base. A study released last week by Americans for Secure Retirement shows that women face greater economic vulnerability in retirement than men. This is because women spend less time in the workforce accumulating retirement benefits and Social Security. They also live longer than men on average. So it behooves women to map out a long-term financial strategy, and begin saving sooner rather than later.

For others, investing remains an elusive goal. "I do budget, but I pretty much go through my whole paycheck every month," says Diane Dobry, communications director of Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. "I'm procrastinating. I'll figure it out sometime when I have a little extra money."

Although Ms. Dobry has a retirement account, she is concerned that it will not be enough, especially now that most of today's pension plans require workers to be more knowledgeable about investment options. "I don't really know the stock market. I sometimes think of it as gambling. I hesitate to put my money somewhere where I could possibly lose money," she says.

The key to overcoming fears like these is education, Professor Cunningham says. "We need to do much more in the way of educating people, both men and women, especially if we think about privatizing Social Security."

This article, written by Marilyn Gardner, appeared in the October 24th, 2005 publication of the Christian Science Monitor.

Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2005

Fear of Commitment - to Investing

A new survey of the investment expectations of several hundred students at 10 colleges finds that although women express more confidence than in a 1996 survey, they still lag behind men.

At the same time, social and economic shifts are increasing women's need for a strong financial base. A study released last week by Americans for Secure Retirement shows that women face greater economic vulnerability in retirement than men. This is because women spend less time in the workforce accumulating retirement benefits and Social Security. They also live longer than men on average. So it behooves women to map out a long-term financial strategy, and begin saving sooner rather than later.

For others, investing remains an elusive goal. "I do budget, but I pretty much go through my whole paycheck every month," says Diane Dobry, communications director of Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. "I'm procrastinating. I'll figure it out sometime when I have a little extra money."

Although Ms. Dobry has a retirement account, she is concerned that it will not be enough, especially now that most of today's pension plans require workers to be more knowledgeable about investment options. "I don't really know the stock market. I sometimes think of it as gambling. I hesitate to put my money somewhere where I could possibly lose money," she says.

The key to overcoming fears like these is education, Professor Cunningham says. "We need to do much more in the way of educating people, both men and women, especially if we think about privatizing Social Security."

This article, written by Marilyn Gardner, appeared in the October 24th, 2005 publication of the Christian Science Monitor.

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