This is the title of an article I recently came across. The article is an interview with Maddy Dychtwald, who co-wrote the book, Influence: How Women’s Soaring Economic Power Will Transform Our World For the Better with co-author, Christine Larson.

Maddy says, “the status of women is changing”. With women representing in some countries over 50% of the population, holding more prestigious positions and earning higher salaries than ever before, their earning power is increasing — allowing them to influence change. For the past two decades, the increase in female employment in the “rich” world has been the main driving force of growth, the Economist magazine said in 2006. “Those women have contributed more to global growth than have either new technology or the new giants, China or India”. That is incredible!

Maddy Dychtwald and her husband, Ken Dychtwald, co-founded the demographics research firm AGE WAVE. They conducted a survey along with Allianz, a financial services company, and Harris Interactive, a public opinion research firm, with 3,000 men and women with one question in mind – how do women handle their money as opposed to men?

3 trends emerged:

1. Money means security to women, freedom to men. Overall, women were far less optimistic and confident than men were about money. One in five women had a secret stash of money her partner didn’t know about – twice the number of men with a secret stash- to use as a hedge against financial disaster.
2. Men see themselves as warriors and women see themselves as worriers. Men are almost twice as likely to say they would take significant financial risks, while women are more likely to buy and hold investments, rather than churn them. As a result, women’s investments often do better than men’s in the long run (interesting – we let them grow!).
3. WOMEN ARE MORE LIKELY TO PUT OTHERS’ FINANCIAL NEEDS AHEAD OF THEIR OWN. The often feel torn between the desire to do what’s best for their family and what’s best for their own future.

While women may be hurting themselves, there is a social benefit when women chose to use their earnings to pay for university, support their children or help care for their aging parents.

Maddy says that despite women’s growing economic power, MANY WOMEN ARE UNSURE OF THEIR MONEY MANAGEMENT SKILLS. THIS LACK OF CONFIDENCE IS A ROADBLOCK TO ATTAINING THEIR DREAMS.

My feeling, and of course it is just that, is that women need to become accountable and responsible for their financial choices and outcome. It means simply reducing fear around an area that most women have handed off to their spouse, significant other or advisor. It is time that women take back their power. It means educating ourselves in this area. What I love about this area of my site is that it allows women to ask the most minute, simple question without fear of being ridiculed or laughed at.

I am well aware of my finances for I am divorced and have no choice. As I educated myself and asked MANY DUMB questions I now feel strong and confident when I sit with my bank person and am renegotiating my mortgage. I will no longer hand away my power. If I do not like something I will question it. It is my money and my choices. Saying that I often use my gut and intuition when making choices – like choosing my financial advisor. I needed to know that we were on the same page, that I can call him with a question and he will get back to me, and he does. I have referred him on to many other people. I also like that I have made money with him!

WOMENS’ ECONOMIC POWER AND INFLUENCE will change the way that marketers talk to us. Maddy says that women are the primary buyers of just about everything. We are responsible for 80% of consumer purchases! We can drive a new industry to grow or fail. Look at the organic and natural foods industry. It has grown 28% in two years, largely driven by women.

On my vision board I have the following words: I choose to embrace my power: confident, bold, beautiful after 40!

Women of the world, let’s embrace this power and use it in a way that is loving, kind and compassionate while still impressing what we want. That is what I call EMPOWERMENT and balancing our male and female energies- being empowered in a way that we are strong and embrace and live by our truth however in a loving, kind and compassionate way.

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