This month, in recognition of International Women's Day, Gulfside Wealth is proud to feature a blog authored by our team member Beth Green, CFP®, Senior Vice President and Private Banking Director with Gulfside Bank.
As I sit down to write this, a million thoughts are swirling through my mind. How do you follow the previously written awesome blogs, speak to women and a broader audience, and make the information relevant and timely?
It is undoubtedly a tall order.
We have always strived to be different; I also aim to make this note different.
We have all heard the statistics…
Women earn, on average, 82% of what men in equivalent professions are paid, according to The Center for American Progress.
Women are also currently underrepresented in senior leadership roles. According to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2019 report, women in the C-suite grew from just 17% in 2015 to only 21% in 2019.
Women represent two-thirds of all caregivers to children and adult family members.
Women carry about two-thirds of student loan balances; a higher percentage of that debt belongs to women of color.
Women are more likely to outlive men by an average of 6 years.
According to a Fidelity study, women control 51% of the wealth in the U.S. and were projected to control two-thirds by 2020.
Women control over $11 Trillion of the country’s financial assets.
Women feel invisible to financial advisors/professionals.
Only 32% of the women surveyed said they were comfortable managing their investments.
Why have women traditionally shied away from getting involved with financial decisions?
Some might say it results from the roles society traditionally assigned to women and men. Historically, men played the role of decision maker, especially financial decisions, and women tended to manage household affairs.
I would argue that while this theory might have held in the past, since the 1970s when women began returning to the workforce in meaningful numbers and with more c-suite women than ever before, it isn’t a matter of playing a particular role. Instead, there is something more at play. A more profound force that often inhibits a woman’s ability to get involved meaningfully.
I would argue that the more profound force is time. I’ll use myself as an example; a trained Financial Professional who has been in the industry for over 20 years. Yet there are times when I can be guilty of falling victim to a complacent investing mentality.
Is it because I don’t understand the financial jargon? Not likely. I don’t claim to know everything, but I certainly have a firm handle on the various investment options and their defined objectives.
Is it because I don’t know where or how to invest? Again, not the case. While I have access to easy investing through our platform, I also know how to quickly set up an online account with any discount providers.
Am I afraid to ask questions for fear of feeling less than adequate? I might have been guilty of that in the past, but certainly not now.
So then, why do I, as a financial professional, fall into a similar category to many of my female counterparts, the proverbial- complacent mentality?
Admittedly, one of the reasons is denial.
I recently turned 50. While that is now considered middle age (because I will live to be 100+), I still feel as though I have plenty of time.
So much more time to build my wealth. More time to invest in the next BIG winner. More time for compounding interest to take effect. So much more time to earn and save money.
The reality of the matter is I DO NOT HAVE MORE TIME…the time is now.
Unfortunately, the most significant barrier to adequately preparing for my future, and that of my young daughter, is time.
As a single parent, who works a full-time job and has evening activities both for work and for my daughter, when I finally do get time to think about anything else, I am often too exhausted, or I need to do one more thing for a client, a school project, or a friend.
This, my friends, is the reality women (and often men) face.
It is simply the feeling that anything, and everything, is more important than sitting down and figuring out how you will adequately prepare for your future.
Why? Because sometimes it's scary.
First and foremost, are you taking a hard look at things like spending habits and current savings rates? Have you done enough, or are you doing enough, to meet your long-term goals?
Are you too embarrassed for anyone to see how little you have saved, and so you want to wait until you make more and/or save more?
Do you feel like you don’t have the time to interview financial professionals? Are you uncomfortable using your friend, or friend’s financial advisor, because they might know how little you have saved?
Or, on the other hand, they might know how much money you actually have or earn, and you don’t want anyone to know that either.
Maybe you are too busy enjoying what little disposable income you have, and/or your kids are sucking you dry, and investing for your future will just have to wait until they are off the payroll.
Women traditionally work, handle the house, the kids, and just about anything else that comes up. So, it’s no wonder they have to let something go. Unfortunately, your future is the one thing that shouldn’t be cast aside.
I know many men also juggle a lot of balls, so they, too, fall victim to a complacent investing mentality.
What can we do about it? You can’t gain more time…that is a gift no one can give.
There are tools to work smarter and ways to free up additional time. We’ve all tried them.
But at the end of the day, life often gets in the way and causes us to push those critical check-ups to the back burner.
As we begin March and celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th, my ask of you is a simple one…whether male or female.
Take a minute to ask yourself the following questions and make sure you find a financial professional who understands you and your needs:
What are my biggest concerns?
Are there unexpected financial consequences that worry me?
What does enough money look like to me?
What are my values and priorities? Funding children’s education? Money to care for aging parents? Travel?
If you can answer these questions, or even if you can’t, sit down with a member of our team and let’s work through the answers.
Together, we can build a personalized plan to help you work towards accomplishing your goals and living the life of your dreams.
The good news is that you’re not alone. The statistics support our decisions and the emotions that have driven us to date.
Dr. David Krueger once said, “The longest-running relationship in our life is our relationship with money.”
Let’s start today and make this relationship a positive one you can be proud of!