Women are well prepared and resilient in the face of emotional and financial crises, according to a new Wells Fargo survey released on International Women’s Day. However, this is not the result of financial education or professional support – areas that survey respondents found missing.
Instead, Heather Hunt-Ruddy, head of business development and growth at Wells Fargo Advisors, attributes the resilience of women to a combination of historical experiences and inequities that have required women to move beyond the circumstances of day and last.
“[Resiliency] is ingrained in our DNA, ”says Hunt-Ruddy. And this resilience, especially in finance, is testament to the ability of women to believe and plan for better days to come, even in the midst of a pandemic like Covid-19.
Women are anxious
According to the survey, women’s earning capacity is now greater than that of their partner, with 32% of millennials and millennials saying they are the main breadwinner in their household. Yet even though 54% of respondents say their income is equal to or greater than that of their spouse, women are more worried than ever about their financial future.
More than two-thirds of women aged 24 to 55 reported being extremely anxious when there is a lot of uncertainty, and 49% of women aged 56 and over reported the same feelings. Current data indicates that these fears are not unfounded.
On Monday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke of the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 crisis on women, with more than 2.5 million additional women leaving the workforce between February 2020 and January 2021.
When women leave the labor market, especially to take on the roles of babysitters or aging parents, they do not contribute to social security or contribute to employer’s pension schemes. These trends mean that not only will the gender pay gap persist, but also women’s retirement savings will continue to be outnumbered by men who suffered fewer sustained job losses during the pandemic.
But women are not sitting idly by as closures and changes in the job market continue to impact the daily lives of Americans.
“Women are looking for more information and discussion about their finances,” says Nancy Amick, senior family dynamics advisor at the Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management Advisory Center.
Although 34% of Millennials and Gen Xers feel they didn’t get a solid financial education growing up, the Wells Fargo survey shows 77% of women are taking over financial education . Mothers ensure that conversations about money begin at home, so their children can be prepared for whatever the future holds.
“Women learn from their experience and take it forward,” says Beth Renner, director of the Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management Advisory Center.
How planning plays a key role in the financial future of women
There is a series of conversations where women need others to pay in their direction: those with whom they financial advisers. Almost half of women aged 24 to 55 and 31% of women aged 56 and over said they needed financial advice more than ever, and 67% said having a financial plan helped them get over it. unpredictability of last year. However, there is a disconnect between the advice women need to plan effectively and what financial advisors typically give.
“In some cases all this industry wants to talk about is yields and performance,” says Hunt-Ruddy. “For women in particular, they want to talk about more than these things.” She says it’s not that yields and performance don’t matter. But those details matter more when put into real context, like sending a child to college or paying for college when a child goes to a better college than expected.
“It’s frustrating that the financial industry hasn’t yet learned to talk about more than just finance with women,” says Hunt-Ruddy.
The Wells Fargo survey found that women want to take a more holistic approach: talking about finance as it relates to their lives, not just the money an advisor will bring them. Top conversations millennials and millennials want to have with beyond the numbers financial advisors include:
- Work (78%)
- Family (71%)
- Health (60%)
Hunt-Ruddy says it’s important for women to represent themselves in these conversations with financial professionals, but recognizes that bullying is a big factor in how comfortable women feel about it. talk about money.
“Women are afraid of appearing stupid or not knowing what they are talking about,” says Hunt-Ruddy. Women may also fear being judged for making bad decisions in the past or being labeled insulting or difficult when asking difficult questions of a counselor.
Hunt-Ruddy advises women to put these fears aside and not be afraid to lead conversations when interviewing potential advisers.
“You have to accept that you are not called a ‘good girl’,” she said. And when a counselor doesn’t seem to be listening or communicating, it’s okay to keep looking until you find an advisor who listens, cares, and connects your financial life to the life you live and aspire to live.
“Keep going until you find the right fit, because a great financial advisor can be the difference between surviving and thriving,” says Hunt-Ruddy.
And women should never feel pressured to settle down or just survive when it comes to their finances. What’s the point of resilience if you can’t bounce back and find a better way forward?
Better ways to move forward
While the Wells Fargo survey primarily targets women who identify as emerging affluent or affluent, few women achieve these levels of economic security without starting with less than they do today. What’s important for women to know is that no matter how much (or how little) money they have today, there is always a way to start planning for their financial future.
If professional financial help seems out of reach or unaffordable, Hunt-Ruddy says women can tap into new financial tools like robo-advisers to make a financial plan and start investing. Robo-advisers allow investors to develop a plan adapted to their investment horizon and their risk tolerance. Some plans also integrate economic, social and governance aspects (ESG), so that women can be confident that their investments are returning to their values.
“One of the best things about robo-advice is what it can do for the small investor,” she says. “The recommendations are somewhat adapted and eliminate the emotions [the investment process]. “
With small amounts, investors can get a head start on their future and create a financial plan and portfolio that can then be transferred to a traditional financial advisor when the time is right.
“When your financial situation gets more sophisticated, that’s when you get the advice of a human being,” says Hunt-Ruddy.
From survive to thrive
If the Covid-19 crisis has made anything clear, it’s that relationships with other people can make all the difference. The connections that women make in their financial lives can only strengthen their resilience and help them make plans that will also help them weather storms and provide a clear vision of the life they imagine. This reality is, indeed, what better and brighter days look like for women around the world.