In an increasingly upside-down world more and more women who have traditionally been considered as family accountants seek ways to save coins and pennies to make their family budget more reasonable. In their rush for saving they tend to be extremely scrupulous and precise shattering the myth of being less financially responsible than men.
Given research investigates last ten issues of BeE Woman Magazine. The latter is a new publication for women devoted to politics, lifestyle, and personal finance. It provides tips for women of all ages (starting from 20) and professions how to maintain their budget in balance and offers best investment and saving opportunities and tricks. Articles in BeE Woman are very informative and nicely structured allowing readers to clearly understand and get a vision of what is being discussed. The reason why particular attention was drawn to this specific publication is that overwhelming majority of women’s magazines primarily focus on nutrition, body care, beauty issues, and gossips about celebrities while chosen magazine suggests in-depth insight into personal finance and private business. Another reason why this magazine was thoroughly selected for the research is that highlighting female financial independence it successfully breaks stereotypes that all money issues are to be resolved by men.
To make thorough analysis of the content and make sure that amount of material reviewed is not characterized by information abundance we picked up 58 relevant articles which discuss key features of female personal finance and saving nature. In addition to main sources (magazine articles) we have also studied a book written by a female writer Sharon Durling “A Girl and Her Money” who publicizes her articles in the magazine on yearly basis.
While applying (quantitative) content analysis methodology we have come to a conclusion that the best way to present our work clearly and understandably for everybody would be to follow content analysis rules developed by Klaus Krippendorff which include:
1. Description of information/content studied.
2. Its definition/categorization.
3. Description of population investigated.
4. Context relative to information being analyzed.
5. Limits of the study.
6. Conclusion. (Krippendorff, 1980, p.141)
Description of information/content studied. Articles on personal finance of women retrieved from the magazine are available in every issue. It proves the theory that the magazine sticks to its reputation of being up-to-date business publication for women with “Publisher’s Note” and “Letter From The Editor” adding commercial flavor to entire issue. Articles are very easy to understand and readership-friendly to make sure that the message is conveyed to all women despite of their different interests, personal issues, health conditions, etc. “According to New York-based financial advisor David Bach, it may be something as simple as your morning dose of java from Starbucks (you know, the one that costs you $5 a jolt.).” (Khalfani L., 2005, p.31). Undoubtedly, each magazine including BeE Woman has its own targeted audience, however, having chosen this clear-for-everybody writing style its publishers made the right choice.
Its definition/categorization. To visualize our research the following table has been created with indication of such data: issue number, number of articles, number of articles about female personal finance, number of articles about saving/investment tips, and amount of pages for each article. Given table allows us to make detailed content analysis of subjective points the authors were trying to send to their readership.
Total number of articles
Number of articles about personal finance
Number of articles about saving/investment tips
Amount of pages
Data provided above show that publishers and editors of BeE Woman managed to successfully cover the topic of female finance and saving tips. In average every issue consists of 24 articles with 5 of them covering personal finance and 3 of them discussing profitable deals and bargains. This fact demonstrates increased demand of female readers to receive more information on how to professionally manage family income and adequately distribute money purchasing goods and services.
Description of population investigated. Highly indicated categorization illustrates that each issue devotes 20,8% of articles to personal finance and 12,5% of them to investment and saving tips. Due to the fact that the magazine is of a business nature age gap for target audience starts from approximately 20 years old and lasts till late aging period. Target audience covers both business women and unemployed housewives.
Context relative to information being analyzed. In majority of cases (123,9 from total 177) articles about savings cover issues of how to reduce expenses on daily basis since women are more involved in household than men. These useful tips recommendations, statistics, and tips include:
1. use cash instead of cards: “…it’s far more difficult to give away tangible bills than to use a piece of plastic and give it a clean slide.” (Durling, 2006, p.19)
2. monthly family budget planning: “Andrea is thinking ahead with a new goal to reduce borrowings from her line of credit to zero before his marriage. The plan is that she can tap into that line of credit if necessary and combine it with any accumulated savings for her share of the wedding expenses” (Durling, 2006, p.19)
3. personal sacrifice: “My father told me that to be a leader you have to be a slave first and that no matter what job you do you should always do your best and learn” (Yang, 2008, p.35)
4. common trends: “women may feel that they can add more value by buying and renovating a house than the average man, and they may be right, given that women seem to have a better sense for what makes for an attractive home” (Marlowe, 2007, p.56)
We should pay particular attention to sentence 2. Young girl Andrea is calculating amount of money and funds she will need to save in order to have equal share with her future husband at the wedding. Consequently, besides small savings and day-to-day finances as those mentioned in sentence 4 women tend to think globally and be not less financially savvy than men.
Limits of the study. Our research remains within the framework of differences in male and female financing leaving aside issues of income level and professional qualities.
During our research we studied the book “A Girl and Her Money” which teaches women how to tackle financial problems once they appear. The author Sharon Durling makes comparison of other spheres of our lives (health condition, following fashion, body care, care wash, etc) and our money. She claims that we women are supposed to keep track of how much they earned and how much they spent without actually waiting for a fairy-tale prince.
All 58 articles carefully read and studied portray the picture that not many would agree with. Despite common opinion that women have complicated relationships with money and that they believe that accumulating wealth is not that crucial authors of BeE Woman firmly claim that women tend to be cleverer when it comes to savings and budget planning due to their ability to pay attention to details and well developed intuition. Although some women tend to bring up money issue only when they get unemployed or approach divorce or retirement age majority of them are not afraid of making long-term investment into real estate or stock. However, one mistake that many ladies tend to make is unwillingness to cooperate with financial professionals. Unlike men, women believe that they can handle money issues themselves and nobody’s participation is required. At the same time, according to statistics only those women who do consult financial advisors stay successful both in business and family financing.
Conclusion. In conclusion, it would be necessary to point out that regardless of popular belief that women are careless about money issues our research and thorough investigation of the topic proved the opposite.
BeE Woman Magazine 2005, viewed March 16, 2009 http://www.beemag.com/index.html
Durling, S 2003, A Girl and Her Money, Thomas Nelson, New York.
Durling, S, 2006, Asking the Right Questions, BeE Woman Magazine, p.19 (http://bee.idigitaledition.com/issues/1/)
Keehn, K 2006, The Woman’s Guide To Money, Insomniac Press, Canada.
Krippendorff, K 1980, Content Analysis; An Introduction to its Methodology, Brownstorm House, Beverly Hills, CA, p.141.
Marlowe, A, 2007, “The Nesting Instinct: Do Women Save Less Or Just Differently?”, BeE Woman Magazine, pp.56-57
Yang, R, 2008, “An Analytical Mind”, BeE Woman Magazine, pp. 35-36 (http://beeintl.idigitaledition.com/issues/spring2008/)