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Spending your windfall: What to do with found money

What made our Facebook page light up, our Twitter feed atwitter and our mailbox full this week? Last week's piece about the price difference between goods and services for men and women. A university study showed that women pay more for things like health insurance, haircuts, dry cleaning, and deodorant than men.

Michael Crosser of Plymouth, Wisc. and many other listeners thought we had way too much women in the show. He said, "So many of your recent programs are whine pieces about the oppression of women." He noted there are more women in medical and law school than men, and that women professionals under the age of 30 make more than men. In short, he says, "women have won."

We also learned of one area where men pay more than women: car insurance. Paddy Hirsch heartily agreed that the price difference is justified. Let us know if you know of other goods and services where men pay more than women!

We also brought Jill Schlesinger of CBS News to help listener Santiago figure out how to spend a $50,000 inheritance. While $50,000 initially sounds like a lot of money, Jill made quick work how Santiago should spend it. Pay off $10,000 in student loans, about $20,000 of a $45,000 home line of credit and $20,000 to start an emergency fund for his family. And just so it's not all work, about 5 percent to be frivolous -- perhaps an iPad and a flat screen.

Santiago said he was concerned that none of it was going towards his children (i.e. college funds), but Jill advised that while it is hard for parents to prioritize themselves before their kids, she reminds them that while you can borrow for education, you cannot borrow for retirement. Plus, the kids will be thankful when the parents actually do hit retirement -- and they don't reap any financial burdens from them.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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Interesting that the writer points out that the car insurance price difference for men is justified. Seems to imply that the difference for items in the first paragraph is not justified --- but is that true? Women's haircuts are not typically as basic as men's and it's worth more to them. They go to the doctor much more often than men and a large percentage will get pregnant and have children. So it's certainly not all "oppression." Wonder what dry cleaners have to say, maybe women's clothes tend to need more fastidious cleaning...? As to the advice about wisely spending/investing a windfall? Right on!

NJ Grant
The Free Grants Community at www.gofreegovernmentmoney.com

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