Women have made gigantic strides toward equality in recent years but still face financial challenges that men don’t. It’s hard to believe that, in this day and age, women are still not considered equals when it comes to money management.
This podcast takes a look at the myths surrounding women and money. Licensed Insolvency Trustee, Francyne Myers shares her insights gathered over the 20 years she has been working with people in debt.
Along with busting the myths around women’s poor money management skills, she also discusses:
- How women (and men) get into debt
- The influence social media has on young women
- Why you’re not responsible for the financial health of others
- How to teach kids about money and how to stand on their own 2 feet
- Having difficult conversations and setting boundaries with your kids
- What is disposable income and how to increase it
Licensed Insolvency Trustees like Francyne Myers are federally regulated and approved by the Canadian government. With their extensive financial knowledge, they will give you honest advice about how to deal with unmanageable debt.
Read the Transcript
Wayne Kay 0:03
Welcome to the Debt Matters podcast where we help Canadians find solutions to their debt with Licensed Insolvency Trustees from across Canada. I’m Wayne Kay and in today’s show, we’re going to be discussing women and money – busting the money myths.
Joining me to talk about this Francyne Myers from Allan Marshall and Associates a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with office locations in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Thanks for being here, Francyne.
Francyne Myers 0:32
Pleasure to be here with you. Thank you,
Wayne Kay 0:33
Oh, this is a great topic. Because there are money myths. Is there a difference between money myths for men and women? And the answer is….
Francyne Myers 0:45
Of course there are.
Wayne Kay 0:48
Okay, so I think we’ve got a lot of stuff to be covering today in the show. So what are some of those myths about women and money?
Francyne Myers 0:58
Here’s one that I hear a lot. Women really aren’t financially savvy, so they can’t handle money.
Wayne Kay 1:07
Francyne Myers 1:09
Well, that’s not true.
Wayne Kay 1:14
I can’t even imagine somebody saying that.
Francyne Myers 1:17
I have heard that and that seems to still be out there. With some, maybe a generational aspect to it. Yes, I’ll just leave it there.
Now, here’s one that I have heard as well. Women are bad at math, or they can’t do math. So they can’t handle money, which the two kind of go hand in hand in a way. And that’s not true, either. Because most women are actually very good at math and some of your top mathematicians are women. So that’s not true, either. That’s general but both sexes. Some people like maths, some people don’t, not just women.
Here’s one that is a bit of a myth. But I must admit it might have a bit of truth to it in a way. Women don’t want to take any risks so they really are not any good at investing. Here’s the thing with that – probably a lot more women, and I’m generalizing here just from 30 years of being in practice. Women are not risk averse, but they’re perhaps not at as risk likely as some men. They’re probably a little more conservative in their investing than perhaps men may be again, that’s a generalization. I have noticed that there’s some truth in that, but not some truth in it. If you can get what I’m saying.
Wayne Kay 2:51
Yes, absolutely. I think that’s a hard one to generalize. But I would say that almost – that is an absolute. It is a myth, because women do invest, but they’re fine. They’re better at long term strategies. Yes, guys want the quick fix.
Francyne Myers 3:08
That’s exactly it. Women are a little more cautious. On YouTube, do you see why men will live longer than women? You see why women live longer than men, right? Because of all these crazy stunts, I think it just comes from our DNA. I really do. But again, a generalization. Don’t send me mail.
The other thing that I’ve heard – women are too busy shopping. They’re too busy buying shoes or lattes to be able to save. This comes from the old school, even a throwback from the 80s – the shop till you can drop. Shopaholic is supposed to be a funny thing. But it’s not really right. And it is a bit of a myth. We’re not so busy buying shoes that we can’t save. We’re not the only shoppers out there. I can tell you from many years of practice, that’s not true, either.
I also heard women don’t really want to learn anything about money. They’d rather let the man handle it. Oh, my, that kind of goes for both sexes. I find sometimes men want to let the woman handle it. Here’s something that’s kind of interesting as well, which is actually true. But I put it as a negative. Products related to women cost the same as products related to men. Not true.
Wayne Kay 4:32
No, I know you pay more for everything.
Francyne Myers 4:35
Yes, you will find from haircuts, to simple office supplies sometimes. I remember buying a pair of lovely little garden gloves one time and my brother in law said to me, how much did you pay? I told him the amount. He said, Well, I can get a box of those at Princess Auto for X dollars.
Wayne Kay 4:56
Francyne Myers 4:59
It really does happen. Marketers charge women more and for whatever reason, we pay it.
Wayne Kay 5:07
Yes, razors are one I can think of off the top of my head. The difference is you look at the ladies razors, look at the guys razors. And there’s a big substantial difference in price.
Francyne Myers 5:20
And they’re exactly the same thing. Yes one’s pink, ones blue – ones prettier. Got more packaging. Maybe that’s it. But men, I think the thing is that men just won’t pay that much. So they’re perhaps a little more – that’s really ridiculous. I’m paying out for a razor, whereas mums like, oh, it’s pink. It’s so pretty. Yes, pick it up. And it does happen when you do spend more for some products, which, unfortunately, does happen. So it’s not really a myth. We do spend more.
Wayne Kay 5:50
Yes. How do you battle all these old things like from the 30s – just completely mind boggling to me. My wife is so great with money. My daughter is great with money. But my son is also great with money, but my daughter was a little bit better. So to hear these myths – to me seem just so old fashioned.
Francyne Myers 6:18
You do see them out there. And I absolutely agree with you. But they still seem to be more pervasive. And, again, it’s a generalization. Not everybody is not everybody isn’t. But you do see, and you have seen over the years, where women do like to shop. So then that has come through the years that well. They can’t really save because they’re so busy shopping and spending their money, which may not actually be the truth. And sometimes it is because I mean, that’s what I do, right?
But other times, it’s really very much a generalization, which keeps going on and on. And it’s part of popular culture. And I think when you do things like say, shop til you drop, or I’m going to go for a little bit of shopping therapy, or you know, anything like that. You keep that stereotype going – that this is what happens with women and money, they just spend your money.
Wayne Kay 7:23
How are women getting themselves into debt? What would be some of the main things?
Francyne Myers 7:30
You know, I think I’m going to tell you things that may surprise you, Wayne. The obvious, which happens with both sexes these days – or, I guess there’s 95 different genders these days – so what happens with all 95 identities. It is not keeping track of where your money is going. Not setting yourself priorities, not understanding how a small business works. These are all in general how it affects everybody.
Here’s what I find that is really mostly related to women. Women are nurturers. I don’t think anybody could honestly argue with that we are more than nurturing sex. So what I find happens a lot is women move their nurturing into a financial nurturing when that kids should be, I’m doing air quotes here, should be on their own.
Wayne Kay 8:32
Yes. Oh, yes.
Francyne Myers 8:34
With their own families. Here’s what’s happening. They’re looking after their kids, they’re co signing loans. They’re taking out credit to pay their kids debts and they’re getting themselves into debt issues.
Wayne Kay 8:52
I’m actually not surprised by that, that makes sense. Because I know a lot of people who have children in their late 20s and 30s and they’re still helping pay the phone bill. They’re still hopefully helping pay this. I have a lot of parents who are helping with paying rent. So yes, you’re right. That is a big one.
Francyne Myers 9:14
It seems to be the women, obviously you want the best for your children and want to give to your children. But it doesn’t help anyone. What it does is start to bring down your own financial health. And it really doesn’t help the other person become financially independent and accountable for their actions. There are people still at home that their parents come in, and the mom says, Well, I still do the laundry. And I’m like, Well, how old is this person, like 28 years old. I’m like, my god. Because here’s the thing Wayne, they like having their kids around. Yes, they don’t want their kids to leave. So they do this but it really doesn’t help and they start to put themselves financially behind the eight ball. I see that a lot with women primarily.
Wayne Kay 10:09
And is this mostly – would this be from single families or would this be from traditional couples with kids?
Francyne Myers 10:18
I don’t think it makes a difference. I’ve seen it every way. And now, it’s usually for that generalization – obviously women who have children who are older, so you’re looking at women of a certain age.
What I’m finding with younger women is they’re being very influenced by social media. They will be spending a lot more on very expensive items – on skincare, clothing. I’m not sure exactly what kind of skincare a 17 year old needs but apparently, somebody on Tik Tok has told you that you need this cream from Sephora that costs $80. And they have the financial wherewithal because a lot of them are working – to buy this. And I am seeing them, because I deal with a lot of millennials who are not too far from their teens who are caught in this web of – I have to look good. And this person uses this. There’s a lot of social influence or social media influencers that are now affecting the buying habits of young women, which is concerning.
Wayne Kay 11:37
Yes, to say the least. It’s unbelievable. So how do you go about avoiding debt?
Francyne Myers 11:46
You have to know what’s important to you. You have to be able to, and here’s the dilemma – many people have not taught their children how to handle money. So how can you avoid debt? I assume then avoiding debt, if you’re not really in debt at this point, or you’re just starting out and you’re going into your financial future.
Here’s the easy way to do it. You sit down and list your priorities. You put down your goals. You live within your means. You do all these things so that you know where you’re going. If most people did this, right from the get go, when they started their adulthood, let’s say around 19 or 20 years old, they would have a lot less debt.
Now, there’s always exceptions to the rule, right? People get sick, they may be right on track, they get sick, they lose their jobs. Relationships break up, it’s hard to mitigate those risks. All though, the savvy financial planner will try as much as possible to mitigate those risks and have a bit of a backup plan. Not many of us do.Not many of us do at all.
So what I also suggest is, make sure that you do, especially women early on – that you are not responsible for other people’s financial health, particularly your adult children or what have you. I’m not saying let your children live on the street if they’ve lost a job or anything like that. What I am saying is that if a child is having a financial issue, or has to come back home, which we see a lot of, make sure that you keep them accountable for doing things around the house, making their own payments on their cell phones. Don’t start paying their bills for them. There’s no need to do that.
Years ago, that didn’t happen, you really didn’t see the phenomena of people moving back home. If you didn’t have a job, and you found another one, whether it was dishwashing, or digging ditches, you found something to support yourself. That doesn’t happen anymore. A lot of times, a lot of times, young people will come home and their parents who are actually fairly affluent now will look after them. So then there’s really no need to – I’m at home, mom’s doing my laundry. It’s okay to teach your kids that they need to stand on their own two feet.
Wayne Kay 14:48
And how do you do that? How do you have that conversation?
Francyne Myers 14:51
Well, that’s a great question. It starts really, when they are teens, when they are working. If they want lovely little things like cell phones, cars, they need to pay for it themselves. And I’ve had women who are absolutely aghast when I suggest that maybe the teenager who’s making probably at least a couple $100 a week from a part time job, not that they’re paying rent or anything but that if they have a car, they should be paying their own insurance. If they have a cell phone, they should be paying for their own cell phone. So these things are things that you start early on. Alright, it is okay to teach your teenagers about money and to not pay for everything. But what happens when that has gone on and on?
Wayne Kay 15:54
That’s the tough one.
Francyne Myers 15:56
Exactly. I see moms and dads too. But moms, even grandmothers – Grandmothers who are co signing loans and car loans. For children who then default. I’m seeing a lot of seniors. A lot of seniors who are being caught, who own their own homes – you can understand the implications of that, right? They own their own homes and are now signing for car loans that just go by the by. It’s a bit of a, I don’t want to use the word pandemic, because that’s kind of overused these days but it’s not uncommon. You’ll see a lot of that.
So really, get yourself out of that situation. You have to have a difficult conversation with someone and we we don’t like difficult conversations, right? Especially when it’s an emotional conversation with someone. So I always suggest to people, they start slowly, because every time you try to make somebody accountable, or you set a boundary, and that’s the big, really the big buzz. You have to set your boundary, every time you set a boundary for something that has gone on for a period of time, you get what – push back, right? Because people don’t like boundaries.
So here’s a very simple one. Your child, even at 15 you say, You know what, you’ve been on your cell phone too long, and what have you. Well, when you try and ream that in, you’re going to get push back, because nobody likes push back. Now, if you stand your ground and work on things, yes, slowly it will come. But you got to be prepared for the push back you’re going to get, and you’re going to set your boundaries.
Don’t start big, it will totally blow up and you will not get anywhere. Very simple things like and I’m going to pick on the cell phone again, because, Hey, you know what – probably a good idea for you to start now you’ve got a part time job, or why don’t you get a part time job? You’re 25 years old, I can’t pay for your cell phone anymore. It’s a little bit too much out of my budget. So your cell phone is going to be cut off.
Wayne Kay 18:20
Well, that’s a great way of approaching it.
Francyne Myers 18:23
It’s a small thing. So there may be a little bit of grumbling and grudging and what have you. But you know what, if they want a cell phone, they’re going to have to get their own part time job. That’s a small start. Maybe then you start on not just financial accountability, but accountability of being involved in things in the household, like preparing meals. A lot of people are working at home or living at home, just expecting their parents to do it. So to all these small, little increments, right up to really, I’m going to throw it out there – having an adult child pay for board or rent if they’re in your house.
Wayne Kay 19:07
And I liked the way you worded it. So I think that’s important. People can go back and listen to how you exactly said that. We’re running out of time. And this is such a big topic. I want to ask you one more thing here. So here we are, and maybe we’re kind of in debt or just on the verge, and money’s tight. And maybe you want to have some more disposable income. Do you have some advice for women when it comes to having that?
Francyne Myers 19:33
Oh, that’s a great question. I love the way you put it. It’s not necessarily making more money. That’s one answer. But for some people, it’s not the answer, but it is – how do you get more disposable income?
So let’s define disposable income. Disposable income is what you have available to you to actually finance or live your life. It’s what’s left after you pay If your mortgage, your power bill, that kind of thing, what’s left for you to do what you want with it.
So there’s two ways to get more of that, number one, make more money. Number two, reduce your expenses. The easier one Wayne right away, a quick fix is – to do a very quick run through of what your expenses are, and make a decision on how you can actually reduce them. I do this with people all the time.
One of the easiest ones is dealing with streaming services. Rather than having to pay for the traditional cable and internet and everything – a lot of times now you can just stream a lot over the Internet through these lovely little sticks you can buy. Get a whole bunch of cable and streamline your whole cable bills. People bring it down by like $150 a month, and they weren’t even aware of this.
Another way is to make sure that everything you subscribe to is actually what you’re using. Because this money goes out $10 here, $30 there, this all adds up. So you start to streamline to see where everything’s going. Remember death by 1,000 cuts? Are you spending $20 at Tim’s every week? Well, that’s not that much. But it adds up. Write down everything that you’re actually spending. See if you’re still using it, number one, and then decide what your priorities are, what your needs are as compared to your wants. That’s the easy way to give yourself more money at the end of the month.
Wayne Kay 21:35
Yes, that’s great advice. What a wonderful discussion here about women and money and busting these money myths. I’ve learned a lot. I’m shocked to hear what these myths were and what you hear in your profession. We’ve got one minute left. Any final words of advice?
Francyne Myers 21:53
Well, you know what, women are poised, I think, this is a generalization – we’re very social media savvy. There are more women on social media than men. Social media is the marketing of the future. So I always say to women, if you’re good at something, you enjoy doing something, you probably could make money out of it, through social media.
Wayne Kay 22:16
Very good advice. Francine. Thanks very much for being on the show today.
Francyne Myers 22:20
Oh, you’re welcome Wayne, thanks for having me.
Wayne Kay 22:22
My guest today, Francyne Myers. You can learn more or you can schedule a free consultation with Allan Marshall and Associates Licensed Insolvency Trustee. You can just go to wecanhelp.ca we can help.ca.
And that is it for today’s Debt Matters podcast. Make sure you subscribe wherever you get your favorite podcasts from an of course, for more information, you could always check out our website debtmatters.ca Thanks for listening.
About Francyne Myers
In 2012, Francyne left her 23 year public service career and joined Allan Marshall & Associates where she completed her education and became a Licensed Insolvency Trustee in 2013. Alongside with her work she is actively involved in her local Trustee Association. In her spare time Francyne can be found fishing and spending time with her family.