For me it comes easy, journalists, by their nature, are critical people, but sometimes they get a little help from those who want press coverage. This particular columnist "benefited" from such aid when I read a press release from a well-known professional association and a well-known consumer magazine. The release announced a joint venture promoting financial planning for women.

Part of the release detailed six conclusions of a survey of 697 women, age 25 and older. Two of them bothered me in particular. The first indicates, "Only one out of four women put most of their money into savings, investments or a personal retirement plan." With the word "most," I would think that one out of four would be a great response. Doesn't that professional association and consumer magazine know that the majority of people use most of their money for rent, food, and paying for cars, commuting, utilities, telephones, clothes, and other basic living expenses?

But there was another part of the survey that was an even easier target. It is, "Only one out of every 10 women would be willing to give up weekly manicures or designer coffee drinks to increase their savings." It bothers me in a number of ways. First of all why was such a question asked of women? Would a similar question be asked of men and women together or a survey of just men? Why are manicures and designer coffees associated with women and financial planning?

It sure beats the heck out of me. This press release indicates to me that the issuers know very little about what they are trying to promote--the financial planning needs of women. They seem to be promoting a stereotype --that salaries received by women are extra money and what is really important to them is nail polish and Starbucks.

I do not enjoy being this critical. I would rather write instead about a press release that shows the issuers truly understand financial planning for women and are effectively promoting it.

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