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November 18, 2009


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"From age 18 to 35, Sophie says women need good looks. What they really need is a fiscally responsible husband."


What this article fails to mention is the fact that women are financially hit harder by divorces than men -- and that's frightening considering how high the divorce rate is. I'm in my early thirties and still single (a total pariah, I know) but I'm in better financial shape than my divorced female friends!

Sorry, but I'm of the school of thought that retirement plans should be based on individuals, not their sex. This article is totally patronizing!

Okay, I should clarify that comment. Why treat women with kid gloves when it comes to financial planning? My parents encouraged my and my siblings (male and female) to get jobs, budget, save for school, start planning for retirement, etc. They didn't treat us differently because of our sex. Smart financial planning skills are essential for everyone.

(And if you've ever seen teenage males shop, you'd know their in as much of budget help as girls!)

I do take into consideration how long I might live (based on statistics), but when it comes to taking time off for kids, I know plenty of men who take time off as well. It's something both sexes should be planning for if that's what they want to do.

and marrotta strikes again! lol :)

"Retirement planning is even more crucial for women than for men."

False statement. I quit reading right then assuming the rest of the article was patronizing and playing on emotions.

I'm a forty-something career woman, and a huge feminist. And I don't think the article was patronizing--it addresses a real problem out there.

Which is that many women for whatever reason seem to think, if only they can/when they can find their millionaire a la "Sex in the City", "he" will take care of them for the rest of their lives so they don't need to worry about money themselves beyond college or whatever.

IMO, FMF left out one important thing: especially for a woman, birth control should be a big part of your financial plan! Even if your awful health insurance won't pay for it, make it your first priority. Make sure your kids are planned and few.

Nothing will kill a woman's financial future faster than 4-5 kids, even if you're married when you have them (& if you aren't, you're really sunk). Because divorce is extremely common and the woman in most cases will end up being responsible for raising the kids. Which includes not only what it takes to pay for the housing, clothes etc the kids need, but also often future college costs for the child. And while you are raising the kids you can't work hard enough/go to school and get ahead in a career--so you're sunk. And anyone who thinks "child support" actually covers half the expenses is dreaming (or is a man who has to pay it & is whining).

Want to know what kids cost to raise? Ask a divorced mom.

Eric --

Ha! Yes, he does seem to be good at stirring up the pot! ;-)

MC - agreed, it should be easier for fathers to get custody of the children upon divorce and raise them and thereby give the mothers the freedom to work and pay the puny child support, but there is a long history in this country of allowing primary custody of children to mothers that needs to first to be overcome. There has been some progress made recently in this area allowing more fathers to get primary custody, but courts are slow to change and it will take some time before women achieve the full equality that will come out of this.

One financial planning issue that I think sneaks up on both sexes for married couples with fixed income is the failure to factor in the reduction in SS benefits when one spouse dies. Sure you get to keep the higher benefit of the two spouses, but you don't keep getting both, and most people have dropped any life insurance by that point.

Good point, MC!

I had a good laugh at the part about teenagers and budgeting. (I used to teach high school!) I didn't notice any real difference between the number of girls and boys who had jobs, so I have no idea where the idea comes from that parents are less likely to urge their daughters to work than their sons.

Anyone who thinks that teens are only interesting in clothes, music and the opposite sex only has part of the picture. Most of my students worked so they could save for their post secondary lives (in addition to some spending money, of course). For some, that meant college or university, for others it was setting themselves up in an apartment with a car so they could move out when they got their first "real job".

Not all teenagers are alike, just as not all women are alike. There's usually more difference within a group than there is between groups, so we have to be VERY careful with posts like these.

I second the notion about planning as individuals. This article seems to assume that women get married and have kids at a certain age, and my life just doesn't fit that pattern.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought this article seemed odd...and dated.

My two closest female friends are in their mid-late forties. They did not/will not have kids and they have both worked through their lives. I don't think either one of them is set for retirement, but neither are their husbands...they aren't planning and saving in general. It's not because they are women, it's because they are two people who don't save well that are married to two other people that don't save properly. Pretty simple if you just think about each individual's habits.

Secondly, although women generally live longer than men, why would a specific couple ever assume one person would die a long time before the other? Won't most couples want to plan for retirement as though both people will survive into their 90's or even 100's? Wouldn't that better ensure enough money for whoever survives the longest?

This article did seem to leave me feeling patronized. Everyone should be well prepared. Not just baby-making, long-living females. The article seemed to be targeted to women less forward-thinking than the ones that read this blog.

If I ever needed someone to explain to me that I will probably live longer than my husband and should plan accordingly, I think I'd need much more help in life than the article above could give...

"Parents are apt to require their sons to take a first job and protect their daughters from the working world." haha ha ha...I'll have to tell my 3 sisters about this one (Im the brother). What a lousey article. What century is this writer living in. I didn't see that any of this advice would be for JUST GIRLS. I can't wait to see the article that will be just for us guys. You ladies wouldn't mind if we exclude you will you?

Oh, and the title of the article led me to believe that they were going to list out unique female needs, like tampons. Or maybe even stereotypical habits like shoe hoarding or expensive makeup.

Living longer, working less, and realizing you need money for retirement do not seem like "Unique Financial Needs" who live longer and work less need to plan accordingly for retirement too, right?

According to the internet, this Sophie Tucker lived from 1884 to 1966. She was also a Russian-born Jewish American. So, yes, she lived in a different place and a different time.

Interestingly enough, it would seem that she was originally deemed as too "big and ugly" for show business, but her personality and self-skewering humor more than made up for it, and even helped advance women's rights as well as actors' rights in theatrics.

Her strong belief in tzedakah and basic kindness is also quite admirable.

I also find it amusing that at least one of her songs (My Yiddish Momme) was banned and ordered to be destroyed by Hitler. However, she was told by a fellow German actor that her album thrived in underground in Germany.

It's fair enough to criticize the relevance of her advice. After all, our lives today are in many ways quite different from hers. But I'll bet she was a good soul who, at the time, championed for women's rights back in her day, as well as show-biz stereotypes. And she did so with generosity and humor.

So, in that way, thank you for sharing this piece. It's always interesting to learn something new.

As far as interesting worldviews go, Mr. Marotta's got nothing on @MC.

"Parents are apt to require their sons to take a first job and protect their daughters from the working world."

More teenage girls work than teenage boys.

Currently 20% of the teenage girls age 16-17 work compared to 18% of the boys. Thats not just a result of the recession, in first quarter of 2008 the difference was higher with 25% of girls working and only 20% of boys.
It fluctuates but workforce participation has averaged about 2% higher for 16-17 yr girls than boys for about 10 years.

Great idea about giving your kids financially responsibility at a young age. It's better to learn the hard lessons early in life rather than later. Blowing your allowance doesn't put you in a big hole, but getting yourself into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in adulthood is the wrong time to learn a lesson.

Better than age 14, I've already started a Roth IRA for my daughter. Although she's only 1 and unable to legally fund her own, I intend for her to inherit mine in its entirety. If she doesn't use it until her 70's or 70's, that's a lot of compound interest!

sound very difficult to be woman doesn't matter what ear you were born.. has to think ahead for yourself and family member.. humm...but i do agree with the way to teach daughter or son to learn to control their financial at the early age..

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