Much has been written lately about women earning less, the glass ceiling, the impossible work-life balance. Studies continue to bemoan women’s lack of financial literacy. Women are poorer than men, on average, and twice as likely to end their lives below the poverty line.
But what happens when women do have money?
Despite all the negative reports and statistics out there about women’s wealth capability, women are at the same time viewed to be a growing economic force — and “emerging market,” by some reports. Different studies show women controlling large amounts of wealth in the next couple of decades, either through earned, inherited, or marital income.
Financial education is important, no matter the wealth level. And across income levels, women reflect similar sentiments around money. Studies show that women’s financial goals tend to focus on family, education, health, and community.
Women also want — and need — financial flexibility, to deal with what may come up in their lives. Women tend to be the caregivers for their children and their parents. Divorce is also common in the U.S., and the end of marriage can need financial flexibility as well.
When women engage with money, they engage around their priorities and goals in life, which may be different than their male counterparts. For that reason, they need financial advisors who can connect on those touch points, and create a program that provides understanding and confidence, as well as financial management, to meet their goals.
Anecdotal evidence and more formal research show that when women work with a financial advisor, they want more of a holistic experience. In my classes with high school girls, many of them want to go into the financial industry when they are done with school. These young women are interested in money, and engaged with their financial learning. As I work with them, encouraging their interests and helping them learn, it is exciting to consider the possibility of a more inclusive financial services community that meets the needs of all people.
Signs are pointing to this evolution now, and as more and more girls and young women learn about money and gain economic possibility, they will be able to command the service that they need and deserve. Let’s help them get there.