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Women And Wealth: Local To Global Money Lessons

NPR | March 27, 2014 4:39 p.m.

Contributed By:

Marilyn Geewax

When it comes to money, women rule. Literally.

Think about it: A woman holds the top job at the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of Budget and Management and the Social Security Administration.

At the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde is the managing director.

These women run large, complex organizations that decide how money is invested, budgeted, saved and spent. They shape the rules that govern the global economy.

But over on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, men still do more risk-taking.

Why is that?

And while U.S. women’s earnings are catching up — now at 81 cents for every dollar a man makes — many say they lack confidence about investing.

Why is that?

These are among the topics NPR is exploring as part of the ongoing Changing Lives of Women series. This season’s collection of stories and conversations, called Women and Wealth, will look at changes in the economic lives of women in this country and overseas.

In the weeks leading up to Tax Day on April 15, NPR will be talking with influential women who will share lessons they have learned about money. And this rolling conversation will involve you, too. We’ll be asking audiences to share their experiences and advice about earning, saving, investing or using money.

These are some of the stories we’ll be covering:

Women’s Role In The Global Economy

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has been speaking out recently about the need for more women in the labor force to boost both developing and developed economies. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne speaks with Lagarde about the kinds of decisions a monetary organization can make that support women as earners, and about Lagarde’s own unique career path.

Women And Personal Investing

American women have more assets to invest than ever. And more women are single, or earn just as much as their spouses. Yet, many continue to lack confidence when it comes to investing their money — even though studies show that when they do, they get better returns than men. NPR’s Jennifer Ludden speaks with women seeking financial guidance about their beliefs and fears about money management.

Women And Wall Street

Long-time Wall Street banker Sallie Krawcheck was one of very few women in the highest banking jobs in New York. But until recently, she says she never thought of reaching out to other women as partners in investment deals. That’s part of the mission behind her new organization, 85 Broads, named for the address of Goldman Sachs. She speaks with Morning Edition host David Greene.

Women And Negotiating

Research shows women negotiate raises less often than men, and that they dislike the process. But for any woman who thinks she’s a lousy negotiator, there’s some good news. Women negotiate brilliantly when they do it for someone else. Ashley Milne-Tyte of NPR’s Planet Money team reports.

Women And Business School

New research explores gender disparities in business school enrollment by the different ways men and women appear to deal with ethical dilemmas. Women report they are less likely to enroll in business school because they perceive material success to be in conflict with ethical impulses. New research suggests men are likely to experience the same conflict — they just seem more comfortable in living with it. NPR Social Science reporter Shankar Vedantam discusses the new findings.

Social Security And Women

Social Security plays out differently for women and men, Social Security Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin says. Since women are more likely to take a break from the paid workforce, work part-time or in lower-paid fields, their earnings and later payout are usually lower than those of men. Just ahead of Tax Day, Colvin talks with Morning Edition guest host Kelly McEvers about financial factors women need to consider as they balance work and family — well before retirement is on the horizon.

Indian Women And Gold

For women in India, gold is not just about ornamentation. It’s a solid investment and insurance policy against bad economic times and marriages that could go sour. The obsession is worth tens of billions of dollars. And it ties up India’s foreign reserves in a commodity that often does little more than sit in vaults. But enterprising, practical Indian women are now using it to get loans to fix houses or start small businesses. NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports.

Cundinas

Cundinas are popular with Mexican immigrants in the U.S. looking to save money. A group of family, neighbors or co-workers gets together and gives the appointed “leader” a certain amount of money. Each participant gets the big pot of money at the end of that week or month, like an interest-free loan system. NPR’s Shereen Marisol Meraji talks with Latinas in LA about why they participate in cundinas instead of going to their local bank.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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