A survey I saw recently asked women, age 45 to 64, how they viewed money matters. Here are some of the questions and my comments on the results.
What is the most important goal for you in your career now?
16% of responders said they wanted to retire or retire early, but 62% said they wanted to be happy at their job with only 11% wanting to earn a higher salary.
It’s interesting to note that while some responders were at an age where retirement would normally be a definite option, the majority wanted to be happy at their job.
Related: How Did You Choose Your Career?
Most conceded that they would have answered the same question quite differently when they were in their 20’s, when 46% would have wanted a higher salary.
This corresponds to other surveys indicating that many boomers would like to be happy and productive at their job for longer than the normal retirement age as long as interest and health permit. Freedom 55 and strolling down a sunny beach every day seems to be of little interest.
Also, people who are debt free with most family obligations behind them are able to pursue work that perhaps pays less but is more rewarding in other ways.
Who is responsible for major financial decisions in your household?
45% of responders said both of us. Otherwise, 39% of wives and 16% of husbands make the major financial decisions in the household.
Related: Women and Finances
I found this surprising at first because the impression seems to be that husbands make the major financial decisions while wives tend to the day-to-day finances because they don’t have a good grasp on investing. On giving it some further thought though, I realized that most people I’m acquainted with would actually give similar answers. What you read about, or think you know, isn’t necessarily true.
Why do you have a separate savings or chequing account?
30% of responders use them to pay personal bills and 18% for long-term savings, but 44% want financial independence. Gone are the days when the husband gives the wife money for groceries and household expenses, or the wife asking her husband for permission to make her own purchases like in my parents’ day.
Would you rather receive $10,000 a year for the rest of your life or live at your ideal weight for the rest of your life?
It’s amusing to see that the answers to this question were almost evenly split. 54% would take the money and 44% want to be at their ideal weight. I know it’s difficult to get to, and maintain an ideal weight, especially as you get older, and maybe $10,000 a year doesn’t seem like much money to some.
Would the results have been different if the annual stipend was, say, $100,000?
What is the most important advice to pass on to a 21-year-old woman starting out in her professional career?
39% of responders offered miscellaneous advise and 10% said to focus on family. However, 45% recommend continued education. Interestingly, only 6% said to save more money.
Related: The Best Time To Start Saving Is Now
While I would agree that obtaining a diploma or degree generally results in a higher salary and more job satisfaction, I am surprised at the low percentage that think saving more money is important.
How do these opinions compare with your own?