Over a year ago, the team at The Humphreys Group sat down and concretely asked ourselves:
- If we made women’s unique strengths, concerns, and preferences the financial norm, what would we see?
- What would happen if we flipped the narrative? What if we designed the world of personal finance, using the strengths and preferences of women as our starting points?
- What if those strengths and preferences were seen as the advantage that they are, rather than something the status quo needs to somehow accommodate or tolerate?
- If we were to create a financial services firm that was designed for and addressed the needs of women, what would it look like?
- What would it look like to “do money” like a woman?
In asking ourselves these questions, my colleague Hallie Kraus and I came up with the book, “Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money.” In it, we identified 10 myths that have permeated our society for way too long. These are:
1. Men are better investors than women.
2. Emotions and personal values should be kept separate from money and investing.
3. Women are more risk-averse than men.
4. Women lack confidence when it comes to money.
5. Women are less interested in investing.
6. Women are less knowledgeable about math and investing.
7. Women need extra help understanding their finances.
8. Women can’t save because they spend money irresponsibly.
9. Women will save enough for retirement if they set up a 401(k) and play by the rules.
10. We should focus our time on fixing the gender income gap, not the wealth gap.
After defining these harmful myths, we dispelled them. We rewrote the rules:
1. Women possess all the qualities needed for long-term investment success.
2. Empathy and expertise both have a place in money matters.
3. Women have a healthy appetite for investment risk, but they’re more mindful about what the dangers are before diving in.
4. Women take time to reach well-informed decisions regarding finances.
5. Women are more ready than ever to carve out their place in the world of investing.
6. Mathematical expertise is not an innate characteristic; it’s a skill set that improves with effort and practice.
7. Women are taking initiative, proving they do not need to be coddled and cajoled into understanding their finances.
8. Women are powerful consumers with ample spending power, and we need to treat them as such.
9. 401(k)s won’t cover everything — women need to diversify their retirement portfolio.
10. The income gap is not the only thing hampering women’s financial mobility. Another alarming disparity is the wealth gap. And we need to fix it.
The financial services industry was built by and for men, and the institutions that created the status quo have excluded women from the conversation. We must start talking about women and money in an unapologetic and unabashed way — women already possess the financial knowledge and confidence to succeed.
For our part at The Humphreys Group, we will continue to address the challenges our clients face, encourage them to venture outside their comfort zone, and empower them to recognize the strengths they already possess, in finance and beyond.
We invite you to help us change the conversation. You can get your free copy of the book “Rewriting the Rules: Telling Truths About Women and Money” at humphreysgroup.com/women-money-myths.