Today I was browsing Yahoo and stumbled into the Shine section. Yahoo Shine is the Women’s Lifestyle section of Yahoo so I expected articles geared toward women but this one surprised me: Growing older makes women better with money.

Seems like a lot of energy went into a study to prove that as women age, they get smarter with money. Who would have thought as much but I guess the same can’t be said for men?

Who knows, I guess they’ll have to study that next.

Anyway, back to the point. The article went on to say that men typically handle the family finances and because women outlive men, women tend to learn to manage their finances after they become a widow. According to Joanne W. Hsu, the author of the study, “Because the benefits of financial knowledge for women are not realized until she is a widow, the theoretical model predicts that a woman has an incentive to delay the acquisition of financial knowledge until later in life.”

The article also stated that based on the collected data, “80 percent of the women who participated would match their husband’s financial literacy before widowhood.”

Here’s what I don’t understand about this piece though. With approximately half of the American workforce being women, wouldn’t there be plenty of incentive for women to master their own finances now? Why is the man of the house’s financial literacy the skill to beat?

Here is how things are in my house.

I’ve always worked and my wife has always matched my level of financial literacy. She has always handled paying many of the bills and from my personal experience, many of the people I know have a similar household.

I may know more about 401k plans and insurance (though it wouldn’t take my wife long to learn if she spent a little time on, but my wife is much more knowledgeable about where our money is going, what bills need to be paid and what our budget looks like. She does much of the shopping in our home, which I would bet is common among most households, so why wouldn’t she know the budget as well or better than I would? This isn’t the 50s anymore, why would this study find so many households dividing knowledge in such a way?

What’s your take here? How do things work in your marriage?

Jesse Michelsen

Jesse Michelsen