When we talk about money and financial matters, it is easy to assume people are alike.

When we talk about money and financial matters, it is easy to assume people are alike.

However, that is simply not the case. How we approach financial issues or handle money daily depends on what we know — or what we don’t know — and our past experiences.

Certain issues affect how women approach managing money and handling financial resources.

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension’s latest program, “Women & Money: Unique Issues” — which looks at financial management for women across the life cycle and through family transitions — begins Oct. 1 in Okaloosa County.

The program focuses on changes women may encounter and their impact on economic status. No matter what age you are, whether you are a novice at handling money or think you have it under control, these classes can teach you more and empower you to plan for successful financial future.

So, what are these unique issues that affect women when dealing with money?

Generally, contrasted with men, women:

•Are less financially secure throughout their life.

•Have lower earnings over their lifetime, earning 71 cents for every dollar a man earns.

•Are more likely to be a single parent.

•Experience higher poverty rates.

•Are more likely to be widowed or divorced. Widowed women account for about 40 percent of women 65 and older; 13 percent of men 65 and up are widowed. The average widowhood age is 55 years old.

•Spend more years out of the workforce due to caregiving.

•Are less likely to participate in a retirement plan.

•Have less retirement income.

•The average monthly Social Security benefit amount for women is $1,023, contrasted with men’s benefit of $1,323.

•More than 4 million more women than men lived in poverty, as of 2010. This may be due to lower earnings but also because unmarried and divorced women are most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children.

 “Women & Money: Unique Issues” is designed to provide women with information and encouragement about being financially successful.

No matter where you are in your path toward understanding financial management, you likely will increase your confidence in managing your finances.


WHAT: “Women & Money: Unique Issues”

WHEN: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, 8 and 15

WHERE: Okaloosa Extension Office, 3098 Airport Road, Crestview

COST: $20; includes materials. Register by Sept. 27 at http://fcs-nw.eventbrite.com or in person at the Crestview extension office.

Elaine Courtney is a Family & Consumer Sciences Extension agent at the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.