In our eBook, Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money, our research helped us distinguish myth from reality when it comes to women, money, and personal finance. Here were some of our key findings:
1. When it comes to investing, women gain a performance edge thanks to their patience, low-trading frequency, and goal-driven strategies.
2. Our money and our emotions are inextricably intertwined. The more we recognize and embrace this, the more our “elephants” (intrinsic motivations) can inspire our “riders” (rational actions), and the more we can harness our emotions for positive change.
3. Women aren’t afraid of risk — but their heightened risk awareness leads them to allocate their risk-budget prudently.
4. Women make financial decisions in a measured and patient way.
5. Women learn best in group settings and are eager to benefit from the wisdom of their peers.
6. For women, investing is less about bragging rights than it is about accomplishing goals and reaching life’s milestones.
7. Keep it simple, sister — women aren’t seduced by unnecessary complexity.
8. Women are more engaged in financial wellness programs that are well-paced, relevant to their daily lives, and presented in clear terms.
Today’s financial institutions were built by and for men, so it’s no surprise that the “norm” does little to reflect the strengths and preferences of women, as described above. What would happen if we flipped the narrative? What if we redesigned the world of personal finance, using the strengths and preferences of women as our starting points? Until very recently, the industry has kept women away from the table. Now that we have a seat, we don’t necessarily have to do things the way men have all these years.
Our ability to listen — truly listen — and engage in meaningful conversation is key. So far, women have been asked to reject or mask their femininity in the workplace, in the business world, and in financial conversations. Instead, let’s value our insights, derived from our lived experiences, to develop viable business models that can benefit us all.
In a capitalist society, money is power — there’s no getting around that. We deny it to our own detriment. How do we want to wield our financial power? To quote one of our heroes, Sallie Krawcheck, founder and CEO of Ellevest and veteran of Wall Street:
“Financial feminism is about women doing four very important things with money: earning it, making more of it, saving and investing more of it, and using it to make our world better. And it’s not just good for us — the more opportunities women have, the better off society is.”
What she said!
We will do ourselves a disservice if we avoid getting smart about, recognizing, embracing, or talking about money and how it shapes our lives. Instead, women can recognize and embrace their leadership roles, within their family or on a team at work. In many aspects of our lives — including the financial ones — we can operate in ways that are similar and dissimilar to men. What starts out feeling uncomfortable becomes easier and less fraught over time. While we build skills and confidence, step-by-step, we can lean on each other, collaborate, share wisdom, and ask for help — but the point is to start.
You can download our eBook, Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money, here.