“There are special reasons why women have got to take financial control through education and empowerment,” says Blayney. (One big reason: Women tend to lend longer than men, so they’ll need more money over their lifetimes.) However, about 35 percent of men around the world are financially literate, compared to 30 percent of women, according to a global financial literacy survey by The Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. Furthering the issue, just 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance course—and that number hasn’t changed since 2014, according to the Council for Economic Education.
The first thing I want to make clear is that women really are missing out right now. Investing is a huge wealth generator, and women, for one reason or another, tend to do it less. Seventy-one percent of the money women have is in cash, and any financial advisor will tell you, cash not only doesn’t earn a return; it actually depreciates over time thanks to inflation. The stock market, on the other hand, has returned an average of 9.5 percent for the past ninety years, even including the horrific downturn in 2007. The good news is a lot of companies are trying to figure out how to change that. Partly because it’s the right thing to do, partly because it’s good business.
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.
And women are nothing if not team players. In Vanguard’s 2014 study “How America Saves,” which tracked the behavior of participants in the retirement plans it administers, the fund company found that women are more likely than men to seek professional help in managing their portfolios, mainly through the use of balanced and target-date mutual funds. (The former hold a fairly static mix of stocks and bonds; the latter adjust their asset mix as the fund approaches the target date.) And Vanguard’s research shows that participants who use professionally managed portfolios have better results than those who don’t. “Women are natural collaborators,” says Ketterer. “Building a team is playing to our strengths.”
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Thanks for your reply Nicole. I know you are currently pursuing ECM if I’m not mistaken. What are the pros/cons of ECM vs. M&A? In terms of exit opps and learning curve, M&A is definitely the best route, but in terms of personal life, ECM…Only disadvantage to ECM, I take it, is the less technical/more narrow content…Your input would be appreciated!
Perhaps you’re just not feeling completely happy or fulfilled in your current industry, and something is telling you that perhaps now is the time to make a major change. This could be a good thing—the truth is, job unhappiness is often a major cause of mental and physical distress and could have a wide range of negative effects on our health and well-being.
"My biggest advice to women who want to save more money is to make more money," said financial expert Nicole Lapin, the winner of GOBankingRates.com's 2015 Best Money Expert competition. "When you stop looking at your financial life as something of deprivation and more of something as aspiration, that's when you actually feel comfortable of taking control of your own finances."
Barclays’ Lorraine added: ‘Don’t be put off by investment banking programmes targeted at women – make the most of them.’ Lorraine explained that many banks are ‘setting explicit targets to increase the number of women in investment banking’. Barclays, for example, runs events and schemes to engage female university students, and initiatives to help female employees access internal opportunities.
About a third of men and women say an unsupportive or biased corporate culture is the biggest obstacle preventing women from advancing. Having more women in senior positions could help: Nineteen percent of women and 12 percent of men say the biggest obstacle is a lack of female leadership. Fourteen percent of women say their biggest obstacle is a lack of mentorship or sponsorship.
MS. SMITH: That's fantastic. So, last question; so talk, talk to us about what you've learned through your work, building an organization, and what you would pass along to our entrepreneurs that are in here, our mentors from other countries as you met many of them. We've got representation really from around the world. So, what advice would you leave them with?
MS. SMITH: More than 200 million women worldwide are running businesses. These are amazing women, and yet there are obstacles that keep these amazing women from reaching their full potential, and that includes lack of access to capital. But the women on this panel are doing something about it, and we're going to talk to them about what they're doing and how they're overcoming those obstacles, and we're going to learn something about it as we go. I want to introduce Josefina Urzaiz, who is the co-founder of Hammock Boutique, and Fundación Cielo in Mexico. Next to her is Nigest Haile, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Accelerated Women's Economic Empowerment in Ethiopia. And next to her is Jill Calabrese Bain, and Jill is with Bank of America. She is the Managing Director and Head of Sales for Bank of America's Merchant Services. So, I'm going to begin with Nigest. So, you are the founder of Enat Bank, which focuses on women. Why was it necessary to start a bank for women in Ethiopia?
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.
Invest in yourself: Sabbia suggests getting smart on the benefits that your employer might offer as a vehicle for long-term financial security. She mentioned 401(k)s and health savings accounts (HSAs) or other forms of wealth escalators that can start building wealth today for use in the future. Sabbia mentioned that HSAs are portable and controllable ― meaning they can be used to fund qualified health-care costs well through retirement, and cover that potentially bill of $195,000 later in life. Sabbia also suggest investing in professional services. "Consulting with a financial advisor or professional can also play a key role by helping you create – and stick to – a customized investment plan aligned to your unique life priorities, goals and circumstances," she said.
Take, she said, a feature like tax-loss harvesting, a feature that involves selling losing investments so that investors can write off the loss on their taxes. It has become a standard on some new online investment platforms. "It's very in the weeds and technical," she said. "I have been in the industry for [a long time]. ... I've never had a woman ask me about tax-loss harvesting."
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Your goal, therefore, is to try to keep your emotions in check. Although there’s little direct data to suggest that women are less susceptible to market euphoria, they do seem a bit calmer during panics. The Vanguard Group looked at whether customers of its retirement plans were moving money out of stocks during 2008, when the U.S. market plunged 37%. Overall, the fund giant found, investors were fairly steadfast, but women were more so, proving to be 10% less likely to sell their stock holdings than men.
Some more interesting results have been released, in case you're interested in adding it to the list. A recently released PwC article highlights some of the issues women face in breaking into the financial services industry, the basic finding is while involving diverse groups improves business performance - so irrespective of an ethical case there is a business one - many women for instance, still find themselves sidelined with 60% saying financial services firms are not doing enough to encourage diversity.
MS. VERVEER: Absolutely, and you did mention education and the fact that women are certainly in higher education exceeding all kinds of boundaries in graduate programs, and yet we don't see always, as you just said, the benefits of some of that in terms of breaking through and to some of the credible really challenging leadership jobs. What is the role of education in forging leadership? And how do you, so you've spent so much time overseeing the United States' education policies, now here in this state at the university level, what more should we be doing in terms of our education system to grow leadership, and particularly to grow women's leadership since we have such large numbers of women coming into the education sphere.
From what I've seen as a dude, the women who are most successful are the ones who are competent, confident, and drama-free. The biggest mistake I've seen is women trying to imitate men. It's a mistake, because what a lot of people think "men" act like is usually not how the most successful men act. You've almost certainly got a massively better ability to read people than your male peers, better soft persuasion skills, and you look better. Be pleasant, be professional, and most of the younger guys wont' care. Can't speak for the older ones.
Best Advice: “Start reading the news! Even if it’s just one article about finance. You can sign up for alerts on your phone when anything happens in the market. That way you can learn about different financial terminology. The most nerve-wracking part of this industry is speaking to professionals and not sounding dumb or ignorant about the topics. I read The Wall Street Journal, and you can also listen to Bloomberg while you’re walking to class, just so you can hear the terminology.”