Women and Finance: CFOs of the Household

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Women Emerge to the Forefront of Household  Finance 

In days gone by, women were in the dark about their household  finances . Money was something that men talked about in dark-paneled rooms, while the women minded the children in the yard. The men bought the cars, paid the bills, decided how much to spend on a house, and if and how much to save for the boys’ college education.

All that has changed.

In more and more American households, it is the women sorting the mail as it comes in, separating the bills and ensuring they get paid on time via their online bill pay system. And when it’s time to buy a car, women are buying 60% of all new cars and 53% of all used cars, according to a December 2009 poll by NBC Universal.

Women also typically continue to make day-to-day purchasing decisions that have lasting impact on a family’s  finances , such as where to make grocery and clothing purchases, and whether to use club cards or clip coupons. In addition, many women have taken on increasingly complex financial tasks, such as eliminating credit card debt, investing for retirement, saving for their children’s education, and engaging in family estate planning.

The Household CFO: A New Term is Coined

This phenomenon of women completely emerging from financial darkness to take the reins has resulted in a new term: the Household Chief Financial Officer, or CFO for short. And established businesspeople and entrepreneurs are catching on. Businesses that provide financial services are beginning to cater to women and to give them the respect they deserve.

Women and  Finance : Doing it Their Way

As marketers, web designers, sales people, financial advisors and other business professionals learn to target women more effectively, they are realizing that women think differently about  finance  than men do. Here are some strategies that these professionals should keep in mind as they target women in  finance .

  1. Women are voracious information gatherers. And they like to get their information in community settings. Note the success of websites like Babycenter.com, ivillage.com, and the like. Women will certainly carry this appetite for information-gathering into their  finance  habits.
  2. Many, but not all women, lack confidence in their financial skills. This lack of confidence is somewhat ironic, because many of these women are actually quite competent and so their lack of skill is often perceived, rather than real. Financial service providers can bridge this confidence gap by speaking in plain English, rather than attempting to impress their female clients with their intricate  finance  vocabulary.
  3. Women tend to thrive in networks. Rather than coldly refer female clients to an unknown professional, it will pay off to build a warmer sense of community by hosting local events.
  4. Be true to who and what you are, and consistently build your brand around it. If you try to brand yourself or your product or service line as something it is not, women will sense it immediately and reject it.

There are certainly companies and whole industries that have not gotten the memo. For example, I was in a used car lot recently with my husband and was summarily ignored by the salesman. But then, I shouldn’t expect a used car salesman to be at the forefront of evolution, now should I?

Source by Katie Banks

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