Myth #3: Women aren’t financially savvy.
Women are making most day-to-day purchases and budgeting decisions for their household yet they still feel uncomfortable discussing financial matters and often consider money a taboo subject. They say things like:
“I was told it’s not polite to talk about money.”
“My spouse has always handled that.”
“I’m embarrassed that I make too much money.”
While each statement has some validity, does that mean women are not financially savvy? If anything, these statements indicate that women have a complex relationship with money. How often have you heard a man make the above statements?
Women’s tenuous relationship with money is often influenced by things out of our power. Consider, the gender pay gap or the lack of education around investments or event the career pause that many women take due to the need to provide care to a parent or child. Society still places women in a lower financial bracket with the underlying thought that women aren’t financially savvy. Ironically, 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives — whether from staying single, experiencing divorce or just living longer than their partner.
With more women independently managing their money, will societal stereotypes change?
Yes. At least, if financial education and investment marketing can change.
Think about how the media discusses finances. CNBC and Fox Business are financial channels but with the same look and feel as ESPN. The words are different, but the design is the same. Those investing channels are geared towards men, and as a result, men gravitate to those channels and learn more about investing while women are intimidated and put off by the extreme masculinity.
84% of women feel misunderstood by investment marketers. Women need and want financial marketers to speak their language so they don’t feel patronized and excluded. It’s Marketing 101. Market to the target, determine their needs and desires, craft a campaign that meets those needs and success will be achieved. The problem is that financial marketers aren’t targeting women and women’s financial intellect is taking the brunt.
Over the next decade, women will control two-thirds of all consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history.
Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. (Source: Mediapost, April 19, 2013; She-conomy). Women of all generations sense this and want to do something about it. They have identified their financial stressors and are seeking solutions to mitigate them.
- Boomers are seeking help with legacy documents and meeting with attorneys.
- Gen X-ers are questioning their retirement needs and talking with financial advisors.
- Millennials are thinking about savings outside of retirement, finding guidance from wealth coaches and online financial literacy courses.
Do you see a pattern in the solutions women are seeking? All of them are looking to professionals for guidance and taking the reigns of their own financial education. Does asking for help signify that women are not financially savvy? I think not. Asking for help is a sign that women are using the resources available to benefit themselves, marking the path for long-term financial comfort. What could be more financially savvy than long-term financial comfort?
I have been the only woman in a room of men in dark suits thinking about other men in dark suits. It can be intimidating. My goal is to create an environment of comfort and openness for my clients.
If you want to better understand your own relationship with money, take our quiz about being Money CHIC.