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Tips for women to close the confidence gap and reach financial goals

March 10, 2015

By Pam Leibfried

Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day!

Last month, a new study about women and personal finances was released by Fidelity. The results of the survey, the Fidelity Investments Money FIT Women Study, were not at all surprising to me. Two of the key findings were that many women don’t feel confident about their finances and they generally don’t feel comfortable discussing money publically because it is “too personal” to share.

Close the confidence gap

Author David Bach, who has written extensively about women and personal finance, has used the old trope about men not wanting to stop and ask for directions to explain why the “confidence gap” between men and women might not really indicate that women are significantly less informed than men. I think his analogy is fitting because studies have shown that women have more of a tendency to underestimate their knowledge when asked to rate their expertise on a given topic. So how can we gain some self-confidence about our finances?

The goal is not that you become the ultimate guru on the topic, but that you learn enough to feel comfortable about your knowledge level and to make smart, informed decisions about your financial future. 

Be more open about discussing finances

When I suggest that you might want to talk about money with family and friends, I’m obviously not advocating sharing your bank account and 401(k) balances on Facebook or in a family Christmas letter! Instead, think about being a bit less secretive about money. Judiciously sharing some information with trustworthy friends and relatives, especially those who you know have similar financial issues, can be helpful.