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Working mothers likely CFOs at home

Published: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

A new poll reveals that as the family’s CFO, 59 percent of working mothers say they manage household expenses alone. This is compared to 30 percent of working mothers who say they manage household expenses in a joint effort with their spouse and 11 percent who say their spouse manages household finances. Still, three-quarters (76 percent) of mothers say their household finances are managed successfully.

According to the survey, when given the choice, a strong majority (61 percent) of working mothers would prefer to get a 20 percent raise and continue working rather than take a year off from work. Only a quarter (25 percent) of working mothers say they wish they didn’t have to work most or all of the time. More than half (55 percent) are predominantly career oriented and do not work for financial reasons alone.

“The dynamic structure of household duties is constantly in flux, especially as the number of dual-income families has risen,” said Jennifer Owens, editorial director of Working Mother Media. “It’s not surprising, then, to see more and more career-oriented working mothers taking the lead on their family’s finances.”

Looking into 2013, working mothers are optimistic: More than three-quarters (79 percent) of working mothers say that they are confident they will be better off financially in 2013 than they were in 2012.

In 2013, working mothers prioritize being a better mother (29 percent) over being a better employee (2 percent). Yet, a majority of working mothers (55 percent) say they will strive to be both better mothers and better employees.

Moreover, balancing work and family is the top challenge working moms (54 percent) face in 2013, and only 14 percent think they are good at both being a mom and a good employee.

Despite their financial savvy, 46 percent of working mothers say paying off debt is one of the top challenges lying ahead for them in 2013 – second only to balancing work and family.

In line with the rest of the nation’s financial and economic concerns, working mothers’ top priorities in 2013 are centered on a set of financial objectives: saving more than last year (56 percent), making more money (54 percent), and putting more money into their kids’ college education funds than last year (36 percent).

Working mothers appear determined to improve their financial and career prospects in 2013, with 23 percent having set their eyes on getting a raise, 16 percent on getting a job with better pay and more responsibility, and 13 percent on getting a promotion.

An overwhelming majority of working mothers (94 percent) believe it is extremely important or very important to teach their kids to manage money.

Common techniques working mothers use to teach kids how to manage money are: teaching them to look for bargains (64 percent); teaching them basic arithmetic and investment techniques, depending on age (50 percent); and teaching them to build a budget for things they want/need (49 percent).

The Working Mother and Chase Slate Life of a Working Mother: Career, Family and Finances survey was fielded by Working Mother magazine among 822 working mothers nationwide between Dec. 7-19 about their expectations, challenges, and goals in 2013.

• Email ccashman@shawmedia.com.

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