By Brett Sholtis York Daily Record, Pa.
Do women handle money differently than men?
Executives at York Traditions Bank think so, and have launched a program called Her Traditions, aimed at addressing those perceived differences to help women meet their financial needs.
Carolyn Schaefer, a managing director at the bank, said that women in general have less confidence than men when dealing with finances, even though women often handle the household bills.
"They may know as much (as men), but they don't think they know as much," Schaefer said.
In addition, Schaefer said that her bank's research with a consultant showed that women view spending and saving differently than men.
"Men tend to look at things more with a laser kind of focus," Schaefer said. "Women tend to look at lots of interconnecting factors."
York Traditions Bank opened in 2002 and has four branches, with a fifth branch set to open in Hanover on November 1.
Schaefer said the Her Traditions program began last year, when the bank's training and development manager, Sue Campbell, came up with an idea to form a women-only networking group centered around East York. Since then they've developed a website devoted to women customers, including a financial personality indicator and other resources.
Suzanne Becker, the bank's marketing manager, said the bank worked with a consultant to develop a Myers-Briggs based personality indicator that has been dialed in to focus on women and finances. There are four categories: security keeper, opportunity seeker, relationship protector and freedom finder.
Becker said that, rather than "putting women into ... little categories," the purpose of the 36 question survey is to open up a conversation about finances.
For example, Becker said that a "security keeper" might keep a tight lid on funds coming in, but may lack a forward-looking plan that could increase financial growth.
On the other hand, a "freedom finder" sees money merely as a means to enjoying life and expressing herself. This spontaneity can be exciting, but can also lead to blown budgets, increased debt and financial hardship down the road.
Becker said that there were no wrong answers to the questions on the survey. She said that when customers are able to better understand their financial tendencies, they're more likely to be able to overcome their challenges and improve their financial situations.
Sue Campbell formed the networking group a year ago to give women a sense of community and foster business opportunities. "There was really no effective place that I found for women to network in York County," Campbell said.
The typical monthly meeting includes lunch, a presentation from one member and relationship building activities. Campbell said the group has 26 members, is referral-based and has no dues or fees associated.
Donna Ness, a life coach who previously owned a spa and consulted for other spas, said that the group is a perfect venue for women to help one another, share stories and become more confident.
"It's so refreshing to see women who are financially independent and pursuing their dreams and goals, and it's not seen as non-feminine or overly competitive," Ness said.
Find your financial personality
Security keeper: disciplined and industrious, security keepers are good at saving money and living within their means. Because their focus is on not making mistakes, they may miss out on opportunities. Because they trust themselves so much, they may not take advice from financial professionals.
Opportunity seeker: Independent, motivated and forward-looking, opportunity seekers are willing to take risks to realize a big long-term payoff. Their fear of missing out on an opportunity can lead to dangerous risk taking, and their independence and impatience can sometimes backfire if they're not meeting their financial goals on time.
Relationship protector: Idealistic, empathetic and intuitive, relationship protectors see money as a way to protect themselves and their family and to ensure they live up to their potential. Because they usually value non-material goals over money, they may not have spent sufficient time setting up a budget. Relationship protectors also hate conflict, which may prevent them from having important discussions and addressing financial problems with family.
Freedom finder: Self-expression, fun, hobbies and enjoying the moment are what make the freedom finder tick. Money is often an afterthought, and freedom finders enjoy anything that makes money management easy, such as automatic deposits, online banking and credit cards. Because of their spontaneity, freedom finders struggle to create and adhere to a budget, and may not set up a long-term financial plan.
Source: Her Traditions brochure, York Traditions Bank.