Women’s #1 financial regret is that they wish they would’ve invested more, yet 61% of women would rather talk about death over money.
Wait. I’m not done.
Women make up 85% of consumer spending, account for 7 trillion in investable assets, yet are 80% more likely to become impoverished during retirement.
A misinformed Instagram troll commented that this is because women are big spenders. No, sadly, it is because we are programmed to think small from the day we are set up with an allowance. Women make less money and enter and leave the workforce multiple times because of lifestyle events like maternity leave and caregiver responsibilities. The cumulative effect of this societal disadvantage is calculated to cost us $1 million over the course of our lives, yet we are barely investing what we do earn. We keep 71% of our money in savings and are only 26% of investors.
Are you mad yet?
Good. Now take action. We have to move these stats in our favor and that starts with three monumental shifts you can make today.
Mindful > Mindless
Somewhere along the way we expected that we weren’t as good at math and 65% of articles surrounding finance aimed at women refer to us as “excessive spenders” (clearly what the troll had read). What’s fascinating is that when a woman chooses to educate herself, manage her money and get clear, she outperforms men by 40 basis points on average. This doesn’t start on Wall Street. This starts with the down and dirty basics of your money story, spending habits and a plan in place. I recommend utilizing a Personal Financial Checklist each quarter that will remind you to track your spending, update your budget, determine what is being paid down v allocations to emergency savings, retirement and investments.
Retirement Is a NOW Thing
It is never too early to talk retirement. This means maxing out contributions to 401ks and IRA plans. There are incredible robo-advisors out there that use algorithms to determine your risk tolerance, have low minimums and fees and are perfect for beginners. Check out NerdWallet’s most recent comparison.
This is where the men get us. Women are only 26% of investors, yet the stock market has historical average market returns of 10%. My biggest piece of advice? Understand your risk tolerance, the asset allocation mix that fit your lifestyle and start small. Take advantage of dollar cost averaging, low minimums and reinvest your dividends.
If you want a deeper dive into this subject, watch this webinar replay and download the attached Personal Financial Checklist to get started. I delve into specifics. If you need more guidance join me in my next live free masterclass Wall Street Basics.
Jeanette Schneider is the Founder & CEO of LIV Media and a retired financial advisor. She spent 23 years in finance and retired a Senior Vice President with Bank of America Private Wealth Management. She sat on the Merrill Lynch Impact Advisors Committee and participated in the study “Women & Financial Wellness: Beyond The Bottom Line” in partnership with Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.