Interviewer: All right, we have all been feeling the effects of the recent financial crisis over the past few years, but women have been hit especially hard. A recent survey says the majority of ladies are stressed about their money, and they don't know how to fix the problem. We're talking about it this morning with Matthew Stout from Stout, Joyce, and Associates this morning. How are you?
Matthew: I'm very great this morning. How are you?
Interviewer: Good. Well we're talking about women and money. First, why are women not really involved in the household finances?
Matthew: You know, I think traditionally, it's been the role of the man, it was supposed to take care of. I will tell you that has changed significantly over the years. In our experience, women are becoming more and more involved in this process, and I think if the man takes the lead on this, a lot of times, it's through default that no one really steps up and says, “Hey, I want to have that responsibility.” It kind of falls and somebody has to do that.
Interviewer: Regardless, the women should at least know what's going on, right?
Matthew: Absolutely, studies have shown that 78% of women will handle the family finances or their own finances at some point in their life. The time to learn that and get comfortable with it is now before you have to make those really hard decisions, because making decisions very quickly sometimes causes problems when you're not sure what you want to do.
Interviewer: Okay, we'll talk about some of those problems because if women aren't up to date on their finances, how much money I have in the account, how much money I have saved, what problems do you see from that?
Matthew: Well I think the biggest problem that people have is unrealistic expectations. That there's a lot of times if you're not living within your means, then you need to lean on some credit cards, and a lot of times that is a problem that's going to exponentially increase itself over time. You need to understand what's important to you, what the income is, what the fixed expenses are, and what discretionary funds you really do have left over to accomplish some things that you have set goals for.
Interviewer: So some of the ladies out there, especially the single ladies, if they're sitting at home thinking, “You know what, I'm overwhelmed, I don't know what's going on. I don't know how much money I'm bringing in, how much money I'm taking out,” what's your first step of advice?
Matthew: I think the first step is to sit down, get a piece of paper and write down all of your income sources on one side, all of your debt on the other side. At that point in time, it's not difficult to say, “I'm spending more that I'm bringing in, where can I start to trim this budget, and cut some things out here as well?” The good thing that women have on their side is they are planners. They want to know. They want to educate. They want to understand exactly where they are, and they understand that if they need some professional help, they're willing to seek that.
Interviewer: That helps too when they want to start investing, when they have that money to invest.
Matthew: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Interviewer: Which is always good because we have to plan for the future as well.
Matthew: You do, absolutely.
Interviewer: All right, well we have more information on our website fox43.com. Matt, thank you so much, we appreciate it.