Just because we’re experienced and savvy doesn’t mean we can’t keep learning, right? Together, we get smarter!
Over the last few years, much ink has been spilled over women and their lack of confidence. Female executives have written books with several chapters dedicated to the topic. In 2014, one of The Atlantic’s most popular cover stories popularized the term “the confidence gap” and examined the empirical research on the issue. Even beauty magazines now have subtitles like “Eight Qualities of Highly Confident Women” and “Your Guide to Killer Confidence,” framing confidence as a supposedly easy character trait to adopt while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store.
Despite being hackneyed, there is good reason for the discourse around this topic. An overwhelming amount of evidence has shown that the “confidence gap” has been a problem historically. In the world of finance, this concept has manifested itself by depicting women as timid, indecisive investors, insecure about their financial knowledge and decision making. But there are signs that the tides are changing – so much so, in fact, that we would argue that women lacking financial confidence is a myth.
It probably comes as no surprise to learn that women are less likely than men to take physical risks. We participate in fewer extreme sports like sky diving and rock climbing. We engage in illicit drug use less often. And when we’re behind the wheel of a car, we’re less likely to speed, tailgate, drive drunk, and we’re more inclined to wear a seat belt. So, it’s easy to assume that we take fewer financial risks as well. The financial services industry has long labeled women as more “risk averse,” and some commentators even have the audacity to attribute this to our hormonal or biological compositions!
Consider this myth busted. Truth is, women are not as risk averse as you may think.
Last week we urged you to take action in response to the reported Equifax data breach. We want to re-up that recommendation with this, “How to Respond to a Data Breach.” This approaches data defense through a broader lens and provides a crucial step-by-step guide for what to do now, and what to do in the coming months.
This message is as important and relevant now as it’s ever been: Capital markets have rewarded investors over the long term, and having an investment approach you can stick with may better prepare you for the next crisis and its aftermath.
At The Humphreys Group, it’s no secret that we revere the many ways women today are breaking through gender stereotypes. Lately, we’ve been especially fascinated by stereotypes that permeate discussions about women and money. These phrases probably sound familiar: “Women aren’t interested in investing. They lack confidence about their financial decisions. When women do invest, they’re too risk averse.” By and large, these – as well as many other commonly accepted notions in finance, by the way – are all myths.
That’s why we’re going to spend the coming weeks busting myths about women and money and shining a light on the data that disproves them. We’ll also share what we’ve learned from our work with clients, and offer some thoughts on what we can all do to re-direct the conversation from myth to truth.
By now you may have heard that Equifax, one of three companies that provide credit reporting, has experienced a massive data breach. Equifax is providing an online method to determine whether your data has been compromised but based on the statistical probability, we strongly recommend that you assume your data has been breached and take action accordingly.
The website for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides straightforward and helpful information as to what to do. There are many good articles online with details about the breach but this is a good place to start.
Based on the FTC information and other reading, we strongly recommend that you do the following:
Read the FTC blogpost – this website provides good guidance and all the information you will need to take action.
Check your credit reports – this will require that you enter personal data which can be unnerving, but the link provided on the FTC blogpost is legitimate.
Place a credit freeze on your credit files with all three companies – again, the FTC blogpost provides a FAQ and the phone numbers to contact the three companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). I placed a freeze with all three companies this morning and each took 5-10 minutes and all were automated.
[Update 1/23/2018: Fees for initiating a credit freeze have been waived since this publication]
This freeze will remain in place until you decide to remove it. Keep in mind that if you decide to apply for a credit card or mortgage in the future, you will have to lift the freeze temporarily in order to do so. Be sure to securely save your PIN. You will need it to lift the freeze.
It is always alarming when a large financial services company reports a data breach, and this is a big one. We strongly recommend that you take the time now to protect yourself.
Please don’t hesitate to call with questions or concerns.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has a cure for the lackluster economy. It has nothing to do with interest rates. Danielle Paquette (Washington Post)
One of our feminist heroes, Janet Yellen, tells it like it is.
Read the article here.
Immigration has long been a political challenge and the issue has only become more of a lightning rod since the election. But politics aside, what are the considerations? You may be interested to read this article by Dr. David Kelly, a favorite strategist from JP Morgan, that takes a close look at the economics of immigration. It’s impossible to predict the political outcome – but in the meantime we can think about the possible economic implications.