Many women, particularly those of baby boomer age and older, rely on a man to be their financial plan. This is mainly due to conditioning that started in childhood.

The typical couple used to consist of the husband who was the breadwinner, and the wife who was the homemaker and mother. Women were not encouraged to involve themselves with finances and investments. Those were considered the man’s job. As a result, women did not develop the skills to competently manage money or understand investments.

The unfortunate result of this early programming is that many women feel “dumb” about money and believe that they are not smart enough to learn. They therefore; avoid the subject, and continue to depend on men to take care of the finances.

When women are caught up in the subconscious belief that men are the ones who take care of the money, they face a great deal of fear and anxiety when they are suddenly confronted with divorce or widowhood. Not only do they have to deal with the emotions that come with such a life-changing event, but they also have to learn to manage a very important part of life at the same time. This is extremely difficult and these women usually feel totally lost.

Escaping the trap

Women should educate themselves as much as they can about finances. It is actually not as complicated or difficult as many believe. Take some classes, hire a financial coach, or join a membership site that offers financial education and support.

Research has shown that more than 80% of women will be the sole financial decision maker at some stage in their lives. This is due to the high rate of divorce and the fact that women tend to outlive men, which leaves a great number of widows having to manage the money.

Now more than ever with the current financial crisis, it is vital that women become smart about money. When someone else manages our finances, we tend to be out of touch with the reality of our financial situation, and this can cause us to spend more than we should; and gets us deeper into debt. Taking control of our own financial management and increasing our skill, increases our confidence and ability to face life’s challenges.

Ladies, start to become smart about money today and remember that a man is NOT a financial plan!

Doris Roper is President and Founder of the W.I.T. Institute – a one-stop resource for women in transition. Doris helps women to figure out how and where to start when facing a transition and plan accordingly. She is a financial life planner, certified divorce planner, mediator and author of WAKE UP your life! A woman\’s guide to real personal power.