Women And The Changing Financial Landscape

Personal Finance

Women And The Changing Financial Landscape

I wrote an article recently about the growth of the “She-conomy” and as such why women and financial life planning is such an important part of its continued growth and dialogue.

Published on 3 October 2015

I wrote an article recently about the growth of the “She-Economy” and as such why women and financial life planning is such an important part of its continued growth and dialogue.

When it comes to investing women are methodically-minded and risk adverse

As any wealth manager or financial coach will tell you – it’s not simply about how much you earn but what you do with it. Not everyone is going to be a millionaire and nor does everyone want to be, but many will earn a million plus in their lifetime and, without a plan, they will have nothing to show for it at the end of their lifetime.

Most financial consumers, particular women, follow the crowd when it comes to investing and planning, and in doing so abdicate responsibility of its growth to others. This can lead to a number of problems, as mentioned in my previous article. One reason for this abdication is a lack of understanding of financial matters as well as the way advertisers position women as spenders rather than investors.

Ironically, it has been found that women who do invest do it seriously better than men. The reason being is that they are more methodically-minded and less aggressive with risk.

So, with that in mind, not only are women becoming more open to grasping financial matters, but, unsurprisingly, they are good at it too!

A key factor influencing this openness is social media.

The millennials/Gen Y (1977-1995) are the founders of the social media movement that has now intrinsically become a part of our lives. Millennials, unlike the “baby boomers” and Gen X (1965-1976) are not followers but innovators.

Social media is a phenomenon that is not going away and has given a platform to many unheard voices, including the financially disempowered woman.

If business and finance is about numbers, targets and the “bottom line”, then social media is about engagement, such as relationship building, education and empowerment – values, one could argue, that are naturally more aligned to the feminine psyche rather than the masculine. It is not surprising then that two of the leaders of the largest social media platforms, Facebook and Yahoo, are women.

So what does this mean for you?

It means in an environment where behemoth financial institutions and their antiquated modes of operation are changing, the playing field of financial services is becoming more accessible and transparent.

This is great news because in a recent Fidelity Investment Money FIT Women Study (February 2015) 92% of women said they are eager to learn about financial planning, but 8 out of 10 confessed to refraining from having financial conversation: only 47% said that they are confident talking about money and investments with a professional. That is a huge 45% difference between those wanting to take action and those actually taking action.

Similar to millennials, women on a whole want the personal touch, authenticity and transparency that social media offers when dealing with brands, particularly personal finance brands, rather than the hard sell. And in this internet and social-orientated world there is no excuse to not partake in the various opportunities to learn about money, make a plan for your money and simply get financially healthy as well as wealthy.

Here are some ways to get started

P.A.C.E is an acronym I created and stands for: be Prepared, be Aware, be Clear and be Engaged!

Acquiring a new skill is a journey in and of itself: it is one of time, energy and facing one’s fears. As such you should go at your own pace not an adviser’s, manager’s or coach’s. But in order to get smarter about money and implement a financial plan that aligns with your desired lifestyle and meaning of money, you have to be prepared for the ups and downs, aware of the financial landscape you are sowing in, clear about what you want from your money and engaged in the process. Have fun with it! When it’s fun you learn more!

Get social and attend financial events

You can find a myriad of groups online or information to attend live events to extend and excel with your level of financial education, knowledge, awareness and mindset.

Google personal finance events and so forth or if you follow a personal finance professional, coach or magazine check out their website to see if they have any upcoming events.

A great website to look at is Meetup.com. If you put in your city and your interest then it will list a number of active meetups in your area. Another one to look at is tablecrowd.com, which is a fun new way to eat out, meet people over dinner and learn something new that interests you.

You may even find that your wealth management company runs complimentary wealth consciousness events from time to time.

These are all great ways to network with like-minded people, learn from others and get financially savvy, as well as empowered about money, investing and planning.

Participate in work programmes

Similar to the above, find out if your company offers workplace financial education. If they don’t ask them if they would consider setting a programme up, in addition to making sure you are taking advantage of all the remuneration benefits your work offers. If you don’t know what they are, ask. You don’t know what you don’t know!

Speak to a financial professional

There is a lot of information online and it can get overwhelming, so do use the expertise and knowledge of a professional. They are a great resource and have a place in your personal finance and wealth creation journey.

If you need advice on where to put you money and how, speak to an adviser; if you want someone to manage your money, then speak to a wealth manager, if you want to improve your financial literacy or money beliefs and mindset then speak to a coach. You will be surprised at how effective each professional can be.

The key to choosing that professional is to ascertain whether they are a good listener who can communicate clearly the information you want to know and in a way that you will understand – so making you want to excitedly implement it now! There is no better time to start doing part or all of the above than today.

Ultimately, we are living in a day and age where women will have to manage their finances on their own at some point, be it because of a divorce, leaving employment to look after a child or a sick family member or simply because of the death of a spouse.

In addition to this, millennials are staying single for longer and living longer, increasing the importance of women taking advantage of the various way to learn about managing their money and making a plan to invest it for the future.

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