REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 15, 1997 — According to a recent national survey commissioned by Microsoft® Money 98, it is women who have taken a dramatic lead as managers of America’s household finances. Results of the Money 98 Women’s Financial Fitness Survey* – commissioned to examine trends surrounding American women and their finances – show 77 percent of women surveyed said they are primarily responsible for day-to-day management of personal finances (banking, bills, budgeting, etc.). The survey results were released simultaneously with today’s launch of Microsoft’s new personal finance management software, Money 98 and Money 98 Financial Suite. Money 98 Financial Suite is a complete, integrated personal finance software product.
New Challenges in a Changing World
Unlike women in previous generations, when many believed they could rely on their parents or a spouse to provide for their financial security, today’s women are taking charge of their monetary destiny amid a significant set of societal changes: Women are staying single longer, divorce rates are at a peak, and women live on average 5 to 7 years longer than men do. According to the U.S. Bureau of Census, currently 63 percent of all women in their early 20s are unmarried, compared with only 36 percent in 1970, and 16 percent of women in their early 30s remain unmarried. On the other end of the spectrum, 40 percent of women age 65 and older live alone, and over half of women age 85 and older live alone.
The U.S. Bureau of Census figures also show that there’s a good chance women will spend as much time in retirement as they do working. In addition, 47 percent of all first-time marriages end in divorce, with nearly half the breakups attributed to disputes over money matters – underscoring women’s need to become more financially savvy and secure.
Highlights of Money 98 Survey
In a new book , “Making Change – A Woman’s Guide to Designing Her Financial Future,” financial planning expert and best-selling author Neale Godfrey says that whether one is living alone or managing the entire family’s finances, the “design it … do it” approach to budgeting is the cornerstone of successful money management. Yet the Microsoft Money 98 Survey reveals that among American women, budgetary discipline currently splits down the middle, with less than half (44 percent) of the women claiming that they typically keep to the budgets they’ve set. Significantly, nearly one third (30 percent) of the women surveyed admit they don’t have any budget at all.
Expecting the unexpected is another key component to sound financial management, according to Larry Cohen, director of SRI Consulting’s Consumer Financial Decisions Group: “In a given two-year period, approximately three out of four households will face a major life event change – such as a change of residence, a change or loss of job, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or death of a parent or partner – that will have significant financial repercussions.” The Money 98 Survey indicates that nearly half (43 percent) of American women are not prepared for life’s surprises, lacking the recommended two to three months of expenses tucked away for unforeseen events.
However, women come out on top when it comes to taking charge of future financial goals, such as college, retirement, etc., according to the survey. Sixty-one percent of women polled said they’re primarily responsible for their household’s long-term financial planning, while 14 percent said they share the task with their spouse or partner, and only 19 percent report that their spouse or partner carries primary responsibility for long-term financial aims. But only 28 percent of the women surveyed said they have the highest confidence that they will achieve their longer-term financial goals.
“Women today need to be particularly diligent when it comes to planning for their own financial future,” Godfrey said.
Money 98 Financial Suite Launches
To help household money managers transform their responsibilities into a lifetime of successful results, Microsoft has designed Money 98 Financial Suite to be the most complete, integrated, personal financial management software available. It provides everything users need to make smart financial decisions: complete planning and tracking tools, personal guidance and online information. Money 98 Financial Suite makes it easy to make smart financial decisions so users can manage all their day-to-day tasks and achieve all their financial goals.
Available nationwide starting Sept. 15, Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite includes the following:
Money 98 – to help users manage key financial tasks such as paying bills, banking and budgeting
Goal Planner – to help set and achieve financial goals
Microsoft Investor – link to the popular financial Web site to help users understand, track and manage investments
Money Insider ™
– interactive financial guide for making informed decisions based on the advice of experts
Advisor FYI ™
– personalized financial guidance helps users simplify complex decisions, identify financial opportunities and avoid financial mistakes
Monthly Report – an automatically generated report that provides a comprehensive overview of monthly finances
Financial Home Page – provides users with instant and personalized information when they open Money. Includes a top-line status of the user’s personalized financial information, personalized assistance from Advisor FYI, and current financial information from Internet resources including Microsoft Investor as well as Smart Money Magazine, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.
“The extensive planning tools and built-in intelligence included in Money 98 Financial Suite can help the new breed of home money managers become more efficient, organized and skilled than any generation before them,” Godfrey noted. “As the Money 98 survey shows, among the growing ranks of women who are taking more responsibility for household financial management, the stage has been set for advancement in all manner of skills. There’s an impressive percentage of women who are setting the pace with good habits, but both disciplined money managers and those who are still struggling will benefit from the power of complete and integrated financial tools and smart financial guidance.”
Previous Microsoft Money users will find this new version to be dramatically enhanced; former Quicken users will find it easy to convert existing Quicken files (Converter Wizard for
Quicken versions 4.x, 5.x, 6.x); and personal finance software novices will find it easy to use, because of the product tour, in-context tips and help built into every aspect of the program.
For additional information on Microsoft and Money 98 Financial Suite, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/money/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Money Insider and Advisor FYI are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
*The Money 98 Women’s Financial Fitness Survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation International from Aug. 14, 1997 to Aug. 17, 1997, and included interviews with a representative sample of 1,012 adults living in the continental United States. Survey findings have a plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.
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