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Female Investor Numbers Are on the Rise: Don’t Miss Out on Your Financial Opportunities

Photo of author, Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®.
Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®
Manager of Advisory Service Standards

Women are expected to control two-thirds of private wealth by 2020, says the MarketWatch (May 2017) article entitled, “Women are about to control a massive amount of wealth but can’t find anyone to manage it.” In fact, in 2015 it was reported that over half of U.S. personal wealth was already controlled by women. Moreover, by 2020, the Bank of Montreal’s Wealth Institute says women are expected to hold a staggering $22 trillion in personal wealth.

Now you might be asking yourself, “What’s causing such a substantial shift in wealth?” and “Where do I sign up to be a part of that $22 trillion?”

There are several “labor force” factors contributing to this anticipated wealth shift:

  • More women than ever are increasing their future earnings power by pursuing higher education.
  • The number of women in the workforce continues to grow because of more workplace flexibility and telecommuting opportunities, which allows them to efficiently manage both family and career.
  • Studies suggest that the income gap between women and men is closing in most leading economies, with female millennials being significantly closer to pay equality.[1]

With more working women making better wages, they also now make up a higher percentage of retirement savings. And, add in the good fortune of statistically outliving men, it quickly seems logical that we are seeing more and more wealth controlled by female investors.

Professional Financial Advice Can Provide a Much-Needed Road Map

Given this “new found” wealth for women, it is encouraging to hear that female investors are also more receptive to financial planning help. They want advice, will ask for it, and recognize its value.[2] This begins to get into answering that question, “Where do I sign up…?”

For those who never had to juggle a paper road map as large as your windshield while navigating your way through a busy highway interchange, well, congratulations – you’re lucky! But for those of us who do remember those days, getting from Point A to Point B was quite a challenge. Then suddenly, with the introduction of GPS, we no longer had to “figure it out” on our own. We could trust in the travel “advice” we received through our vehicle’s satellite-linked navigation system or our smartphone’s maps app.

Just as today’s GPS clearly maps a path to our destination, so too does a well-crafted financial plan help us work toward our goals and increase our chance of success. Of course, we may still take a few wrong turns; but thankfully, there is opportunity to adjust along the way to get us back on track to meet our destination (goal), assuming we choose to heed the advice.

Remember I said studies suggest women are open to advice? Maybe that is why I sometimes find myself thanking my GPS out loud, and I speculate you do too. Perhaps it is also why women are open to the coaching of a trusted financial advisor — women prefer to work with someone who will take time to really listen to their needs and concerns and, even more importantly, educate them. Our end game is a simple one: To feel empowered and more in control of our financial future.

You Can’t Get Financially Fit If You Don’t Participate

So, back to the “Where do I sign up…?” question. To increase the likelihood that you, and/or the women you care about, will be a part of that $22 trillion anticipated female-owned U.S. wealth by 2020, you (or they) must participate. There are varying degrees of participation and each personal financial situation is different. But it boils down to two steps:

  • Step #1: It is important to understand your (and your family’s) finances and define what it means to you to “live a good life” today and many years from now; and
  • Step #2: You must identify short- and long-term goals for achieving that “good life,” and then develop a plan to achieve it.

It’s really no different than working on a plan to become physically fit. However, in this instance, you are working toward financial fitness. It’s important to assess whether you would benefit from working with an advisor (personal trainer) who truly understands your goals and what it takes to achieve them – someone who can “coach you” through the ups and downs of your fitness journey.

Portrait of a happy elegant woman showing her biceps on gray background
So, whether you are just getting started or have already taken some steps (e.g. contributing to your employer’s 401(k) plan), there is no better time than the present to take an inventory of your financial self.
  • Do you have a good understanding of your finances?
  • Are you saving for retirement?
  • Are you contributing to a college savings account for your children?
  • Do you have life insurance, and is it enough?

There is an extensive list of considerations that will vary for each individual based upon career, marital status, life circumstances, and what she cares about most. And remember, you don’t have to tackle all of them at the same time. You start with the basics and build upon those as you increase your “financial strength.”

The most important thing is that you take action — take care of yourself and your financial future. Seek professional guidance so you can make educated, well-informed decisions that will result in strategic moves toward living your “good life”.

1 “On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity – For Now”, Pew Research Center.

2 U.S. News & World Report, “4 Ways Women Are Better Investors Than Men”, 12/17/13.


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