I have mentioned in previous columns that my wife and I don't always agree on money issues — specifically, how much should be spent on what.

That's especially true when it comes to the little "luxuries" we afford ourselves.

However, our disagreements are usually mild, and I don't believe they are gender-based. That's why a reader's comment about last week's column on a local company's search for female financial advisers caught me off guard.

The comment, posted on the deseretnews.com Web site, said, "The reason women don't become financial advisers is because they can't manage their own money, let alone someone else's. The author is walking on shaky ground here."

I couldn't let that one pass without a response.

While I have met many women who struggle with managing money, I have met at least as many men who have financial problems of their own. The stereotype of the free-spending woman, out to shop her hardworking husband into the poorhouse, just isn't universally true.

For example, in my family, it's a constant struggle for me to not go into credit-card debt to buy a big-screen TV. Every time I walk into Sam's Club, the 72-inch screens beckon to me, begging me to spend money I don't have.

I haven't given in ... yet. But if I did, such a purchase would deal a more severe setback to our family's financial plan than any expenditure my wife has made during our 16 years of marriage.

Well, there was that sewing machine. But I digress.

Based on years of interviewing financial advisers — both male and female — I believe everyone can learn to manage his or her own finances. And an aptitude for helping others do the same is not based on gender.

A reader named Jane wrote as much in a posting on the Web site.

"As a gender issues expert specializing in retention and advancement of women, I have learned through dozens of interviews and extensive research that women value contribution (making a difference) and flexibility very highly," Jane wrote.

"Whether they realize it or not, they also look for a sense of community, respect, education and advancement opportunities, among other things. Getting through the first 2-3 years is challenging, but once achieved, financial services are a wonderful career for women desiring these qualities from their work."

Well put, Jane.

By the way, if any of you missed last week's column and would like to explore a career in financial advising, contact Utah-based Heritage Financial Group at 801-355-2091.

On a different note, I wanted to share another response to a column I wrote last year about whether people plan to keep working or take a break once they hit retirement age.

In this case, the reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote that her husband wants to "really retire."

"He's worked so hard for all these years, I think he's just ready to relax for a change," she wrote. "He's a UPS driver. This year, if he makes it to March with no accidents, will make his 30th year as a safe driver, quite an accomplishment.

"My husband has never taken a sick day in all those years, and I can count on one hand the times he's taken off personal days. ... My husband leaves home around 7:30 a.m. and usually gets home around 7 or 8 at night. So you can see he's put in some long, hard, back-breaking physical years."

As for this reader herself, she has taught piano lessons for about 26 years.

"I may keep a few piano students, with the provision we can travel when we want. I love teaching, and I've had the best students."

Despite comments on both sides of this issue, I'm still looking forward (far into the future) to a job-free retirement. I just hope I make the right financial decisions now so I will be able to meet that goal!

If you have a financial question, send it to [email protected] or to the Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.


E-mail: [email protected]