Women make roughly 70% of household purchases, putting them in a great position to benefit from the strategy that once made Peter Lynch the best-known mutual fund manager on the planet. Lynch, who ran Fidelity Magellan (symbol FMAGX) from 1977 through 1990, said in his book One Up on Wall Street that investors’ best research tools are their own eyes and ears; he got many of his best investment ideas while walking around shopping malls and talking with his friends and family. In fact, Lynch wrote, his wife was responsible for turning him on to what turned out to be one of his best picks ever, Hanes Co., when she told him how much she liked L’eggs panty hose, which Hanes makes.
MS. SPELLINGS: What we're doing right is focusing on reading. Here in North Carolina there's been a major emphasis around early literacy. If people can't read and cipher at high levels very early then you're on a track for failure. So, you know, we're out of denial about that. A key part of that, certainly for the university, is making sure that our teachers are prepared to be effective in teaching reading, but teaching reading in disadvantaged communities, rural communities, urban communities, poor communities, etcetera, and I think we, and one of the things that I'm challenging myself to do since we run 14 teacher preparation programs, is understand how well we're doing that. You know, when the, when we have the reading results that we have in this state, which are not terribly encouraging, it tells me those well-intended, high-energy young people that are teaching in our schools don't have the best tools available or we'd have better results. So, that's, we have accountability for that in the university.
Americans as a whole are drastically under-saved for retirement. According to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, nearly half of all families have no retirement-account savings at all.1 Women are disproportionately impacted by this shortfall for a number of reasons. Consider the socioeconomic factors that are creating obstacles for women in America today:
MS. TURLINGTON BURNS: Gosh, so many ways. We are pretty small. We're a 12-person organization. I think we struggle with anything that any small business would struggle with, just growing and trying to do what we do well, not waste resources, make sure that our people are taken care of and people feel, you know, like motivated and looked after to do their job to the best of their ability. We look for, you know, volunteers in different ways. Our organization was essentially all volunteers before they came on full time. And so, I don't know if we can continue to take on volunteers and make them part of the staff, but it's a really important thing to be able to have an open door for people who have time or who have skills to offer, and you know, we've had pro bono legal advice, we've had graphic designers and artists and different people come in and say I can do this, I can't do that but I can do this. And so, we want to have that relationship where nothing is, nothing is overlooked, nothing is less important than writing a check, although that's always welcome. It's Mother's Day and that's a big opportunity for us to campaign around maternal health. We have, you know, partners, like product partnerships where we have lots of really lovely things that are all kind of, you know, a play on classic Mother's Day gifts, but we have great partnerships with mother-owned, female-led businesses where they're creating products that then, you know, people can buy and they can celebrate their mother, but they can also help save a life of someone else at the same time. So, those kinds of things are also great ways to participate.
I am often amazed by how many intelligent, well-educated women have little knowledge and/or interest in investing and retirement planning. As a gender, we have to do something about this. Oh, that’s interesting, is a common response when women ask my friend, a female financial advisor, what she does for a living. And it is often delivered in a tone of voice that conveys just how interesting it is to have one’s teeth extracted or to find a piece of roadkill on one’s doorstep. The subtle cringe that shadows many women’s brows when a financial advisor mentions retirement planning or investment management has become a familiar sight.
MS. SMITH: No, thank you. And thank you to this panel, thank you to all of you. Thank you to all of our panelists and our amazing speakers. I'm inspired. I'm inspired by everyone, and I wrote down a few things. I mean hammocks, the 5,000 Lowe's hammocks, or the bank in Ethiopia, the small loan is 1.8 million. I mean I think we've got some things we can learn here. I mean the dinner kit to the, sold already and now online catering. I mean the stories are amazing. So, Alyse, thank you for the partnership for the last five years, and thank you to all of our mentees and mentors for being here. we're so excited to be able to do the program in the United States, in our corporate headquarters, which is fantastic. And as Margaret reminded me I'm the only thing standing between all of you and the reception. So, my last comment though is please come to the reception because our mentees will have wears from their businesses, and they'll be able to talk to you about all of the things that they're doing. So--