We all want to feel secure in our future and confident that we are making the right financial decisions to help us achieve that security. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for some women.
Research has shown that women typically are less confident than men when it comes to investing. Some women investors feel intimidated because they think they need to have a firm grasp of market conditions and industry jargon. Some women say they don’t feel like their current advisor listens to their concerns or goals, which can lead to frustration. Sixty-one percent of women would rather talk about their own death than money.
Why is it important that women feel empowered to make investment and financial decisions?
- It’s estimated that women today in the U.S. control nearly $11 trillion in assets. By 2030, women are expected to control as much $30 trillion in financial assets.
- Women live longer. By age 85, women outnumber men two to one. In addition, 81% of people age 100 or older are women. Also, women on average outlive men by five years, so those in heterosexual relationships will likely find themselves inheriting and controlling more assets when their husbands die.
- Nearly 28% of women are in C-Suite roles, which has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.
With women living longer, and earning and controlling more money today than ever before, it is crucial that all women feel comfortable talking about money and gain confidence in their ability to make investment and wealth management decisions.
When I was faced with being the sole source of income for my family after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I realized I needed to educate myself on financial planning and investments. I also sought an advisor who understood my situation, concerns, and goals for myself and my family.
HOW WOMEN INVESTORS DIFFER
In addition to lower confidence, women often use a different approach than men when it comes to investing and wealth management. More women than men are interested in or are engaged in impact investing, for example. Women tend to be more risk-adverse and make more conservative investments than their male counterparts. Women also tend to be more concerned about meeting their financial goals, such as saving enough for retirement and paying for health care and long-term care insurance.
Research shows that women who were in a relationship often change financial advisors when faced with a life transition, such as divorce or the death of their spouse. It’s estimated that 70% of women change advisors within one year of their partner dying.
Life changes also spur women to act. Women who are divorced are twice as likely as men to open a new investment account, citing the divorce as the impetus for the account.
HARNESSING INVESTMENT POWER
If you feel as though you could use more confidence in your financial life, consider these tips.
1. Identify what is important to you going forward in your life.
You will gain more confidence in your investment actions if you clearly know what your end-goals are. Do you desire a certain amount saved for retirement? Do you want to leave a legacy for future generations? Do you want to be able to travel more or have a second home? Defining these life goals will help you to determine what you need to do financially to achieve them.
2. Talk to your family and friends about finances.
Being uncomfortable talking about money can lead you to keep quiet on important matters. Begin having conversations with family members and friends you trust about your life goals and how you think you’ll reach them. Normalizing financial discussions will make it easier to identify and articulate your next financial steps.
3. Educate yourself.
You can create confidence through education. Read books, listen to podcasts, or attend workshops that focus on financial or investment topics you’d like to learn more about. Knowledge is power.
4. Work with a trusted advisor.
You don’t have to make important financial decisions on your own. With nearly half of women investors preferring to use a professional advisor, it’s imperative that you have a positive relationship with your advisor. If you are currently going through a life transition, you may find that the advisor you worked with during your marriage no longer is the right fit. Ask family and friends for recommendations. You want to work with an advisor who listens to you, acknowledges and understands your financial and life goals, and who empowers you to achieve them.
Some women investors today lack confidence in their abilities for various reasons, but through education and partnering with a trusted advisor, all women can learn to trust their decision-making when it comes to their financial lives.
About the Author: Kim Rosenberg, CFP® is a Relationship Manager and Wealth Planner who takes a holistic approach to achieving her clients’ financial goals which integrates planning, investing, wealth management, tax implications, and estate planning. She uses her vast knowledge, personal experience, and deep empathy to help women take control of their money, and feel secure in their financial journey. She has helped women in all stages of life achieve their wealth goals, especially women facing major transitions like divorce or death of a spouse.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.