Women Face Highest Poverty Risk in Retirement Years -- Heartland Institute Calls for Financial Education to Meet Critical Planning Needs

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Women in America represent an ever-increasing percentage in the workforce. But as they make gains in value and importance, relative to purchasing power and the control of assets they seem to be more vulnerable than ever before.

According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, 75% of the elderly poor are women. The fastest growing age group, percentage wise, is age 85 and over. At the same time, the Social Security Administration indicates that over 30% of all women must continue to work past age 65.

"It's ironic but sad, the number of poor women is multiplying more rapidly than ever," says Marcie R. Gappinger, Director of Education for The Heartland Institute of Financial Education. "While women control more assets than men, as a group they face a much higher risk of poverty in old age. A long-time financial educator, Gappinger says it is essential that women know how to invest and protect their assets. "They need much more guidance in the area of financial literacy," Gappinger says.

According to a survey completed by the Allianz Life Insurance Company, 90% of women admit that they are nervous about their finances. They feel that they are somewhat or not at all financially secure, largely because of a lack of financial education. And yet, women are willing to be responsible for themselves and are motivated to learn about the things they can be doing to take control of their financial futures.

"Women rarely seek a husband based on financial stability," Gappinger says. "Still, most do not consider themselves to be self reliant investors. As women evolve into a new roll of economic influence, it is more important than ever that they embrace financial education."

Gappinger, who has been studying the way different generations of women make decisions, says that women of all generations need to hear things several times to explore them. "They appreciate having some sort of relationship before they do business," she says. "When a woman says she wants to think about it - she really does. She wants to be 100% satisfied. She is willing to understand and to learn in order to properly apply solutions to her life. Of course, all generations are molded by world events during their formative years."

"Women really do represent the ultimate survivors," she continues, "living approximately 7 years longer than their male counterparts of the same age. Eventually, nine in ten women will be solely responsible for managing household finances at some point in their lives. As current and future leaders in America, women need and want financial education more than ever before. Through proper education and action this can literally change the face of America when it comes to economics and our collective financial future."

Gappinger is quick to add that the Heartland Institute of Financial Education, a Colorado non-profit that works through a consortium of colleges and universities nationwide and is a preferred provider for SHRM (http://www.shrm.org, the Society for Human Resource Management) has risen to the challenge by offering courses on financial management for women.

Marcie Gappinger is Director of Education for the Heartland Institute of Financial Education. She has been involved in the field of financial services since 1987. She earned the right to use the CFP® mark of distinction in 1992, having completed her studies through the College for Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado and met the certification requirements as set forth by the CFP Board of Standards. Marcie also holds the CFE Certified Financial Educator® (CFEd™) designation, having successfully completed the course of study and examination offered through the Heartland Institute of Financial Education.

While Marcie worked as an advisor with clients until the mid-90s, she discovered that helping people achieve their goals through financial education was her real passion. Financial literacy is an essential component for people to empower themselves, not just financially but in all areas of personal health and well being.

As Director of Education for the Heartland Institute, Marcie is committed to bringing this kind of education to as many people as possible. She works with HR professionals, associations and corporations to facilitate the development of teaching relationships with local CFEd™ professionals who provide financial wellness classes. She is also involved in monitoring the Continuing Education Program for human resource professionals.

Marcie holds a degree in Music from the University of Denver and is a member of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM).

A special report on the last five generations of women and how they think and make decisions differently is available under the tab "Presentations" on the institute's Web site, http://www.HeartlandFinancialEducation.com.

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Marcie Gappinger, CFP, CFEd