You've come a long way

Patricia Bell |

March 8th was International Women’s Day, a global day that celebrates women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. 

The Motley Fool recently released some research on the differences between women and men regarding savings, investing, and earnings (1). I thought it would be interesting to dive into their data and a few other resources I've recently reviewed. 

In a 2017 Fidelity survey, women saved an average of 9% of their annual paychecks, compared to an average of 8.6% saved by men. Earnings for women still don't equal their male counterparts, and The Motley Fool research shows this gap widened in 2020 (another way the Covid Pandemic has impacted us). Women are often encouraged to advocate for higher wages, but they face roadblocks even when they do. Research also shows women are less likely than men to get raises even when they come out and ask.

Women tend to earn better investment returns, even though they also tend to invest more conservatively. Only about one-quarter of women have money in the stock market and are more likely to keep a significant amount of their savings in cash. Their returns are likely better since they’re more disciplined savers and less impulsive during volatile markets. Still, the higher demands typically placed on women leave them less time to explore the options that meet their needs. So, they save the money, but it’s not always working as hard for them as it could be. When surveyed, women are often less confident than their male counterparts in their investing skills, something that improves as they get older, and maybe wiser? When we have more time?

Women look at the details.

TD Wealth Behavioural Finance(2) research shows women score higher than men on a “conscientiousness score” (46% v 39%). This conscientiousness means women are twice as likely to have a detailed plan with an advisor, two and a half times more likely to contribute regularly to their retirement and three times more likely to be “very satisfied” with how financially ready they are for retirement.

Talk About Money.

I have the privilege of working with some great women, both across the desk from me and alongside me in our office. We all agree on the following:

Talk about money. Investing isn't a four-letter word; express your interest and make your voice heard. Knowledge is power. 

Stay in the know. Ask questions and find an advisor you trust... Someone who will help you learn what you need to know. 

Be part of the planning process. You bring an added perspective to the conversation. Don’t leave all the decisions to your spouse or partner. Take the time to be involved. You won’t be sorry you did. 

1 The Motley Fool – A Summary of 20 Years of Research and Statistics on Women in Investing
2 The TD Wealth Behavioural Finance Research Report