Financial Savvy is Sexy in 2009

Did you know that women could not obtain a mortgage without a male cosigner as recently as the 1970’s, even if they were head of their household? Neither did I.

Like most bank employees, I am required to complete monthly compliance training on different topics. The training I completed yesterday was on Fair Lending. I had NO idea that women were so discriminated against when it came to personal finance as recently as 30 years ago.

Business woman with moneyTake a look at a few of the facts I learned:

The Fair Lending laws were enacted to address a history of discrimination and preferential treatment in lending and the extension of credit. Here are some examples of discriminatory practices:

* In the 1970s, female heads of household could not obtain a mortgage without a male cosigner.
* In the 1970s, married women could not obtain credit in their own names.
* Throughout the 1970s, revolving credit accounts were automatically revoked when customers reached the age of 65.
These facts shocked me. Yet they also explained to me why so many women are/were groomed to believe that they would never need to be in charge of their own finances because a man would handle it for them. When banking law mandated that women could not obtain credit without a man, I guess women of past generations had to succumb to getting married or depending on their father if they ever wanted to buy a home. Is it these types of ridiculous and sexist laws that are partially responsible for the high level of divorce? (Did women assume financial freedom=marriage, even if it wasn’t ideal?) Is it these types of laws that bred generations of women who are financially illiterate?

Female financial literacy is a HUGE value of mine. I believe it leads to better relationships, more personal confidence and hapiness in women’s lives. Ladies: stop waiting for Prince Charming. If you are lucky enough to find one, remember that at any moment things could change and he is not responsible for thinking for you when it comes to YOUR money.

Ironically, I just started reading “Prince Charming Isn’t Coming: How Women Get Smart About Money” by Barbara Stanny, and I can barely put it down. I’ve always wondered what it is about personal finance that scares so many women away. Trust me, if you know about Christian Louboutins, the latest True Religion jeans, and the today’s gossip on Angelina Jolie, you are more than equipped to learn about credit scores, managing your debt and buying a home.

Please don’t squander away the rights that the women before us have worked for. Don’t take it for granted that you can be financially independent, buy your own home and get a credit card without a man. Think for yourself and get in control of your finances so you can pick your own Prince Charming for who he is rather than for how he can take care of your finances.

One response to “Financial Savvy is Sexy in 2009

  1. Terrific advice! I won’t forget the day I closed on my condo and the form said ‘ single female’. Like it was a death sentence…or maybe it send Unmarried Woman. I need to find you the picture of the indicator and email it to you:)

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