Helaine Olen's new book, "Pound Foolish," looks at the flaws of the personal finance industry and covers a lot of ground. But what she wrote about the way women are marketed to, and the people who are doing that marketing, is worth noting.
Olen argues that women are inundated with messages that they're incompetent in managing their money, and that they are too emotional or too busy to take it seriously. She says: "It's not true."
Olen in The American Prospect:
Women are targeted for a number of reasons. First, we control increasing amounts of wealth, with the result that we are seen as a valuable niche in the business of financial sales and advice. Second, we are more likely to turn to others (for) financial advice than men so we are, you might say, perceived as an easier sale. This might be because we are routinely portrayed — in the face of very little evidence, by the way — as less capable and knowledgeable than men when it comes to managing our funds, too emotional to get it right. This is, sad to say, a myth that even those who claim to support women perpetuate. It was Suze Orman who claimed that women lack "competence" when it comes to money. Of course, all this talk obscures the real reason women have less money than men: we earn less and live longer.
• Is most personal finance advice useless? Author exposes industry's "dark side." Olen explains the popularity of personal finance gurus Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey and Jim Cramer and why it doesn't take into account deeper reasons for lack of income and savings. (Time)
• Is personal finance gender-neutral? A look at the growing gender gap in personal financing. (Credit.com)
• Ghastly gurus. Advice to keep your wallet closed. (The Economist)
• Personal finance myths. Olen talks about her new book. (Brian Lehrer Show)
• The shopaholic myth. Why the "shopoholic" stereotype continues to perpetuate ideas of women and finance. (Slate)