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In a recent survey by Morgan Stanley 84% of women said they were interested in “sustainable” investing, that is, targeting not just financial returns but social or environmental goals. The figure for men was 67%. Matthew Patsky of Trillium Asset Management, a sustainable-investment firm, estimates that two-thirds of the firm’s direct clients who are investing as individuals are women. Among the couples who are joint clients, investing sustainably has typically been the wife’s idea. Julia Balandina Jaquier, an impact-investment adviser in Zurich, says that though women who inherit wealth are often less confident than men about how to invest it, when it comes to investing with a social impact “women are more often prepared to be the risk-takers and trailblazers.”
There are a few ways to be a good self-advocate when it comes to fees. Ask your advisor if he or she gets money for any of the products they want you to invest in. Sometimes advisors are paid every time someone invests in a mutual fund, for instance. It’s a conflict of interest, but in some cases, they aren’t required to disclose it. Crazy, right? If the company makes it too hard for you to find out what they’re charging you, you should probably go elsewhere. Transparency is always a good sign.
MS. KATZIFF: So, to exactly that, the many, I would just add there is no one perfect mentor, so surround yourself with many people because you can pick and choose strengths. Everyone has different strengths. And so, think of it as you are the CEO of your business, of your career, and you get to select your Board of Directors, and that is how you should think about mentorship, where similar to any company who looks for a strong Board of Directors you pick multiple skills. You would never pick one person with one skill. So, diversify and have mentors that you tap into and rely on, depending on the situation, and you get diversity of thought.
When users sign up for Stash, they’re asked whether they identify as low, medium, or high risk when it comes to investing their money. Among the sample group, nearly 90% of female Stash users identified a low or medium risk tolerance when they opened their account, as compared to 75% of men. “This means that female Stash users perceive themselves as less willing to make riskier investments, opting for less volatile stocks and ETFs—they want safer investments, in other words,” Alexandra Phelan, the Stash data scientist who led this study, tells Quartz.
Most women don’t think they know enough about investing to properly grow their savings; therefore, they wait to start investing until they feel they’re more financially stable and believe they can risk the possibility of losing money. A common misconception around investing is that you have to be an expert in the industry to succeed when the reality is that there are so many tools and resources that make easy to start investing with as little as your pocket change.
Many companies in the financial sector are also guilty of perpetuating a male focus, Mr Tsivrikos adds. “The language and visual aspects of investing are still very male-dominated – even things such as bank notes, which have more images of men on them. The more we have female figures on money and as visual components in the world of finance, the more they will be engaged.
I cannot echo this enough. There is a female in a high level position at my firm and whenever she visits we go out for drinks where she spends the entire time trying to be one of the guys. Making stripper jokes, talking about football, etc. I mean not in a natural way either. It is constant during the entire conversation and obviously forced. Maybe some insecure little betas find it endearing. However,I find it annoying and it makes me think I can't trust anything she says since she's always putting on a grotesque facade. The world has changed so much I think it best to just be yourself. Yes there may be some misogynist leftovers from the Madmen days, but their numbers are dwindling and with that their power over your career.
Phil is a hedge fund manager and author of 3 New York Times best-selling investment books, Invested, Rule #1, and Payback Time. He was taught how to invest using Rule #1 strategy when he was a Grand Canyon river guide in the 80's, after a tour group member shared his formula for successful investing. Phil has a passion educating others, and has given thousands of people the confidence to start investing and retire comfortably.
MS. JILL CALABRESE BAIN: Sure, well first I want to say I'm humbled to share the stage with these two women, and all of their tremendous accomplishments. So, ladies, thank you. You know, the state of the state is actually good. There is about ten million small businesses owned by women in the United States. It's actually the fastest growing segment of the small business population, and it represents about a third of all small business owners nationally. We have the privilege of banking about 1.2 of those, 1.2 million of those women today, so it's about 40% of what it is that we do at the bank. And when we looked at the survey the news is actually pretty good. I mean women are fairly confident in the economy today and where they believe the economy will go in the next 12 months. However, there's still some hesitation around revenue growth and long-term economic growth. And so, when we look at that it's about 44% of the women feel really confident, which is good but that's down from about 54% last year. So, we always look at access to capital. Access to capital is something that plagues both men and women. But they tend to look at sources of capital differently, and we see that women, at least in the survey that we just recently completed, only about 7% actually think that they will pursue financing in 2017, which is a little lower than their male counterparts. And sometimes what we see it's the confidence factor. They feel like they need all of the information before they even ask the question, which we know that that's not the case and we want to be able to support those women.
For those who doubt that women can be successful investment bankers, there are a few examples such as Marisa Drew, a co-head of Global Markets at Credit Suisse, who has worked in investment banking for over twenty-five years, starting her career as an analyst back in 1986. Another good example is Mary Callahan Erdoes, who has been serving as the chief executive of JPMorgan Asset Management since 2009 where she oversees more than $2 trillion. Ruth Porat also deserves a mention, having worked as chief financial officer and executive vice president of Morgan Stanley between 2010 and 2015, when she decided to leave the bank for Google where she became the tech giant’s first female CFO.
You’re not supposed to feel sorry for her. But it’s interesting that she’s so wealthy and doesn’t feel that way. She’s in this odd, hyperbarically sealed Wall Street world. You lose perspective on how much is enough. Some people have taken issue with her making so much money. If she were a supermodel or a celebrity, I don’t think people would mention it. People react differently to an ambitious woman.
Consider the guidance of a professional advisor. If thinking about saving for retirement overwhelms you, consider working with an advisor to help you set goals and make informed investment decisions. Seek recommendations from friends, or gather a group of friends together to interview potential advisors. Meeting with multiple advisors before making a decision will help ensure you find someone who is the right fit for your needs.
The lack of confidence carries a big cost. For instance, more young women than young men defer retirement planning in their 20s, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. They take Social Security early, cutting their lifetime benefits. And financial advisors have long noted that wives often defer to their husbands, even though research shows that generally speaking, women are better investors than men.
MS. VERVEER: It's been part of our journeys. But I often think that women may not think about this being a place for them, not just running for office, elective office, which is probably the hardest challenge of all if one looks at any of the data out there today, but certainly service at the national level, at the local level, school boards, town collectives that come together to solve problems. This has obviously been a huge reward in your life. You've demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. Help us understand why this is a real opportunity for women and the rewards of this.
As an analyst, I'm also part of an employee networking group called Junior Women Connect, which organises a range of networking and career events. Last year we organised an event called "Power Dressing 101", which consisted of an evening in an L.K. Bennett store hosted by a professional stylist who advised us on how to dress for work and the impact of our image on people's perceptions of us.
“It has become increasingly apparent that retirement planning is not only evolving, but also has become a moving target that Americans must continuously revisit to pursue their goals and priorities,” said Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Age Wave. “As we see in the latest Merrill Edge Report, retirement planning requires a new mentality—‘set it and forget it’ is a thing of the past. As millennials are envisioning living very long lives, this study reveals the new priorities they have for work, leisure, success and money as they are coming to realize that everything they do today, financially speaking, can impact the lives they’re hoping to live in retirement.”
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1. Get in the game. Women are participating in their employers’ retirement plans at the same rate as men. The problem is, they typically save less—an average of 6.9 percent of pay compared to 7.6 percent for men, according to 2013 a report by Aon Hewitt. Many also don’t contribute enough to take advantage of any company match. This makes it harder for women to build sufficient savings to fund retirement. In fact, according to the Aon Hewitt report, women have average plan balances that are significantly less than men’s, consistently across all salary ranges ($59,300 for women vs. $100,000 for men). The solution? Bast urges women to take full advantage of their retirement plans as soon as possible. “The key to building wealth is to start early, set aside as much as possible and always contribute at least as much to get any employer match that may be available.”
Don't put your investments on long-term autopilot. One of women's strengths as investors is that they are less tempted to buy and sell in the short term, based on classic research by Brad M. Barber and Terrance Odean at the University of California-Berkeley. But at least once a year, you need to become an active investor, checking your asset allocation as you age and your needs change. That means changing your asset allocation when it's required, or hiring an investment advisor or an online investment platform to do it for you. "This was my own mistake in 2008. ... I didn't have cash, and I was fairly close to retirement," said Hounsell.
MS. VERVEER: Do you have any kind of view that you formed on your own as to why women are not doing anywhere near as well in the STEM field as you all know, and I'm sure even our visitors from overseas we're not doing anywhere nearly as well in areas like mathematics and science and technology. And even with so many women going into higher education we're not going into fields like engineering and math. What is it about us?
Conventional wisdom “blames” women for this gap. We receive messages that we’re not as good at math as men; we’re not as good at investing. Um, no. Studies have found that once women do invest, they outperform men by nearly one percentage point a year. This was confirmed recently by Fidelity, which analyzed the performance of 8 million retail clients in 2016. Typically women outperform because they don’t overtrade, panic in down markets, or pay too much in fees.
While the past decades have seen a great advancement in the field of gender equality in the workplace, the title of James Brown’s classic song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” still rings true when it comes to investment banking. Still, women have a lot to offer to the job and it seems that despite lagging behind other industries, Wall Street has finally started to realize it too.
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