There has been a lot of discussion around women’s rights in the past year. One issue that hasn’t received much attention is financial literacy and a woman’s ability to make her own financial decisions. While the other issues are important, this one could be the most important of all.  The ability to make wise financial decisions affects everything else you do for the duration of your lifetime.

Almost half (46.8%) of the U.S. labor force is women. Fewer companies offer a guaranteed pension and even Social Security may not be as secure as we once believed it to be.  And, as a woman, you‘re likely to be single at one time or another due to divorce or the death of a spouse.  So understanding financial basics and learning to manage your finances is essential.  To do this you need to be financially literate.

What exactly is Financial Literacy?

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s annual National Financial Capability Study tests financial literacy based on three concepts that are fundamental to how you manage resources and make financial decisions.

  1. Interest rate calculations
  2. How Inflation works
  3. Risk diversification

Financial Literacy and Women

Several studies show that when asked just three questions that measure knowledge of basic financial concepts, women are less likely than men to answer correctly and more likely to indicate that they don’t know the answer.  In the U.S. the overall financial literacy rate is generally low, but women are lagging behind the men.

The Financial Literacy Test

Here are the questions:

Question 1 : Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?

(A) More than $102. (B) Exactly $102. (C) Less than $102

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