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Traditional gender-based financial roles must end

In the past, traditional gender roles in a home meant that men worked and took care of finances, while women stayed home to take care of the kids and the house. This meant that a lot of women did not learn much about the family's financial picture, from income to taxes to retirement accounts.

The roles have changed. Women still work slightly less often than men, but they are far more heavily involved in the workplace than they were 50 years ago.

One problem researchers have noted is that these financial roles have not always changed. Some women still defer to their husbands when it comes to finances, and they do no learn about the budget, the cost of living and all the rest. They stick to the traditional gender roles.

There are a few problems here. One is that women tend to live longer than men. This means that a woman could have a few years at the end of her life when her husband isn't around, and she could struggle with the finances if she has spent decades ignoring them.

Another issue is that the divorce rate is roughly 50 percent. Half of people who get married wind up getting divorced. Will women have a harder time after divorce because they do not know how to perform that financial role? It is important for both genders to understand finances and to be active with the family's money.

Those who get divorced also need to know all of their legal rights and options, especially if they feel at a disadvantage financially.

Source: CNBC, "Women need to take an active role in their financial lives," Marguerita Cheng, April 30, 2018

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