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Women: ‘Lean in’ financially, too

By Crissinda Ponder · Bankrate.com
Friday, March 22, 2013
Posted: 1 pm ET

Are men better savers than women? New data released Tuesday suggest that the answer to this question is … Yes.

The average man with a savings-related account has a balance of nearly twice that of the average woman, according to the March 2013 U.S. Consumer Savings and Debt Report by SaveUp, a national online financial rewards program.

Men have higher balances in their certificates of deposit, 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts and taxable investments. The only account type in which women have an edge is money market accounts.

"Women and men are in significantly different positions financially in planning for their future financial security," says Priya Haji, CEO of SaveUp.

Women are more conservative with their financial choices and have low exposure to high-yield investments, which can hinder savings efforts in the long term. However, they are investing more in higher education, which accounts for their higher average student loan debt compared to men -- $41,405 versus $39,104.

When asked to assess their own saving strength versus that of men, 73.2 percent of women believe they are better savers than men, but the data show that men take more risk to secure their financial future and have 30 percent more invested in taxable investments than women.

One of the reasons for the difference in savings efforts is the income disparity between men and women wage earners.

"It's not just (women's) choices and behaviors that matter, there's also some really important structural issues in our society -- mostly wage inequality -- that we're seeing translate into a lower status of total savings," Haji says.

Just as Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer is -- in her new book, "Lean In" -- asking women to "lean in" when dealing with workplace issues, SaveUp's report asks them to do the same when it comes to future financial stability by following these guidelines.

  • Negotiate for increased wages.
  • Aim higher on the amount you save monthly.
  • Increase exposure to market returns on long-term savings.
  • Maintain low, unsecured debt.
  • Continue investing in higher education and career growth.

Do these findings surprise you? Share your thoughts below.

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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