And why I don’t blame them.
Investing and finance are not hard. They’re just set up to be hard.
Money and finance can seem so intimidating, so seemingly unattainable, that money is actually disempowering. For women — especially young women — the world of finances is viewed as a problem to deal with later, and not an opportunity to seize now.
As young women face increasingly complex financial decisions, very often, they don’t have the educational background or a role model to follow. Only 6 states in US require personal finance classes — so they are limited to what they were may have been taught by their parents, or what they can quickly Google. And if they do look to Google, they see…lots of men.
The idea of “financial mastery” is cloaked in masculine mythology. Men in the boy’s club of finance risk it all to close, to make the deal, to get what’s theirs.
If this is the club, what woman would want to be in it?
When it comes to financial know-how, women just don’t have the same opportunities or advantages as men. They aren’t in the room.
Who can blame women for reading the room and going, “I am not welcome here” and opting into other areas where success actually seems possible?
And if real financial know-how and confidence is passed through male-oriented whisper networks, what happens when you’re not in earshot?
- 52% of millennial women point to money issues as the most stressful thing in their lives. Only 43% of millennial men feel the same way. (Source: USATODAY)
2. Women are surpassing men in college graduation rates, but one in 5 women has nothing saved for retirement. Women ages 18 to 29 are even likelier to have zero in retirement savings, at 34% don’t understand. (Source: CNBC)
3. Millennial men were found to have checking-account balances 36% higher than women’s. Men also had 26% more money in savings, and a whopping 70% more in retirement funds. (Source: USATODAY)
Women have played by the rules, gotten their degrees, their first jobs, their first credit cards. They’re capable, smart and sophisticated. And they’re driven.
They have super-powered imaginations to motivate them. They’re doing what they can to live up to the potential they know they have. And yet, when it comes to finance, the industry fails them. They focus on other goals — they avoid the finance world because they don’t think they need it, understand it, or just don’t see being a part of it as important right now.
Why would such awesome women shy away from such important financial planning?
Saving 20% of their paycheck, opening up a low interest savings account, investing in Vanguard funds or asking for a raise aren’t easy things to do for young women who are just starting out.
Not to mention that they are coming of age amidst the uncertainty and constant volatility of the modern economy (2 dips per decade!).
Without confidence, guidance, role models they can relate to — it feels safer and easier to just not participate in a system that seems to be against them. For some women, it’s confidence, but for others, they simply want nothing to do with finance. It doesn’t make them feel good.
The headlines are “Women aren’t doing enough to secure their financial future” and“Sad but not shocking: Millennial women have less money than men, and more financial stress.” Thank you, CNN and USA Today.
Now women are running farther away from their potential and a rewarding opportunity.