By Dolores Kong
The Boston Globe

Who wants to marry a millionaire? Become one yourself.

That's one of the underlying messages emerging from a
growing number of Internet sites focusing on women and
personal finance.

Rather than being just another Web destination for
shopping and spending money, these sites are teaching
women how to get their finances in order and build

Over the last several months, three personal finance
sites specifically for women were launched:
www.financialfinesse.com, www.
MsMoney.com and www.wfn.com (for Women's Financial

And two months ago, the site for the Mutual Fund
Education Alliance, www.mfea.com, unveiled a women's
section, while many of the general women's sites have
had pages on money for a while.

There's even a women's personal finance site with
attitude - www.cassandrasrevenge.com, named after the
prophet in Greek mythology who was cursed by Apollo to
always be correct but not believed. The site's motto:
"Personal finance without all the high fiving and
group showers."

These sites appear poised to take advantage of what
various industry surveys have found: that women are
making up a growing proportion of Internet users and
online traders, anywhere between 40 to 50 percent.

And women are probably ready to take advantage of
these personal finance sites, too, considering the
various statistics that show women are more likely to
earn less than men, to outlive men, and to live in
poverty than men (especially in retirement or after
being divorced or widowed).

For example, women earned only 76 percent of what men
earned in 1999; they live seven years longer than men
on average, to age 79; and the median income for
elderly women is just over $8,000, according to
federal statistics.

But girls also want to have fun. So in addition to
tackling the serious money issues, some of these
personal-finance sites include the kind of
lighthearted features you might find in a women's
lifestyle magazine, such as a money personality
analysis and horoscopes.
Unfortunately, what's missing or hard to find on many
of these sites are such things as daily stock market
news and the ability to check stock quotes or monitor
your portfolio. That makes the sites less useful for
the woman who's a savvy investor already, or who plans
to be one someday.

Hopefully the omission is not a result of stereotypes
- that women are afraid of math, or that they dislike
thinking about making money.

Maybe it's an acknowledgement that the stereotypically
male way of keeping track of minute-by-minute ticks in
stock prices, as if they were sports scores, goes
counter to the philosophy of investing for the long

Here's a review of some of the personal finance sites
focusing on women:

- www.financialfinesse.com: Run by a company that
began by providing financial seminars to women in
corporate and other settings and by hosting a radio
show, this Web site provides information for investors
of all levels, and dozens of financial calculators.
One of the neat features is a list of "street scams"
to watch out for, in such areas as annuities,
insurance, and work-at-home schemes. And in the spirit
of investing to become a millionaire yourself, rather
than having to marry one, the site features a
"millionaire calculator" that shows how much you'd
need to invest on a monthly basis, based on your time
horizon, tax bracket, and estimated rate of return.
(For example, you'd need to invest only $85 a month
for 40 years, presuming a 12 percent annual rate of
return in a tax-deferred account such as a 401(k).)
But while Financial Finesse prides itself on offering
"the only unbiased, online financial resource for
women," its Web site heavily promotes the company's
financial seminars - regularly $75, or $45 if you
register with its "community center" - as well as the
company's network of certified financial planners.

- www.MsMoney.com: This Web site got a boost when
first lady Hillary Clinton was on hand in March for
the launch, during a meeting of the San
Francisco-based Women's Technology Cluster, one of the
site's funders. Sub titled "Secure Your Financial
Future," the site features sections on planning for
such life events as marriage, divorce, starting your
own business, or retirement. There's a host of
financial calculators here, too, as well as sections
on retiring rich, banking online, and investing
basics. MsMoney.com says it "helps women take control
of their financial health through selected
partnerships with content and services providers,
financial experts, and book authors." Signing up for a
free membership allows you to participate in live
chats with experts, and gets you a subscription to a
monthly newsletter.

- www.wfn.com: Financial expert Suze Orman hosted the
launch of this Web site in March, with the help of
former US representative Pat Schroeder and other
notable women. This is one of the few sites where you
can get a stock quote easily and manage your
portfolio, from the finances page. Free membership
enables you to access all of your bank, brokerage, and
other online accounts in one place, as well as pay
your bills online, although there may be nominal
charges for some of those services. The site also
features a WFN Advisor Network for women who need
investment, financial planning, tax, attorney,
insurance, or mortgage services, and an "Advisor on
Call" who will respond to financial questions by
e-mail within 24 hours or the next business day. And
for girls who want to have some fun, this site
features a money horoscope and a money personality

- www.cassandrasrevenge.com: Written with wit, this
site by finance writer Ellen McGirt was the most fun
to read of all those reviewed, as long as you like her
persona. While the site has good basic information on
investing, and prominently features the ability to
check a stock price or how the market's doing, it has
less comprehensive information than some of the other
sites reviewed. But what the site lacks in
comprehensiveness, McGirt more than makes up for with
attitude. For instance, the feature on the day's money
news is headlined "The Daily Blather" (although it was
a few days out of date during this review). McGirt,
who also writes for America Online, promises a
real-time portfolio tracker soon for the site.

Other sites worth checking out:
- www.WomensFinance.com
- www.iVillageMoneyLife.com
- www.mfea.com
- www.WomensWire.com/money/
- www.ka-Ching.com