My hope for International Women’s Day 2016 is for us to take steps to normalize the conversation between money, women and investing. Why? Because we are all carrying around financial issues on our to-do list and not talking about them.
Sitting beside me on the plane or at a dinner means we will likely end up talking about money and investing. Not the whole time, as that would bore all of us, but in my line of work it tends to emerge as a topic. I find women really want to talk about it and are just looking for someone to ask them a few questions. It could be as simple as the need to fund your IRA by April 15 or thinking about selling some stock, or deeper issues such as concern over how your mother is going to fare in retirement in light of her fixed income stream and emerging health-care costs.
No matter how the conversation starts, it usually ends with the other person feeling more confident about some possible next steps. My being in the business helps, but in reality it’s not who they are talking to but the conversation itself that proves valuable.
Name it to claim it
Here’s why these conversations are so important: Women are an emerging economic powerhouse. Through earning and inheriting money, almost two-thirds of women will sit at the head of their household’s economic table within five years, according to WealthManagement.com.
And they have big dreams. In this year’s annual BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey, 94 percent of women identified meaningful financial goals. Paying off credit cards, starting a business, leaving money to their favorite charity, paying for their children’s education and retiring comfortably are just a few.
The not so good news is that many women are reluctant to build and manage their wealth. They miss the connection between aiming for a long-term goal and investing to achieve that goal. Only 28 percent name growing wealth as a priority.
There are consequences to not naming the goal: Of women who don’t prioritize growing wealth, just 38 percent have investments, according to our survey.
But that number jumps to 63 percent for women who have made the important connection between goals and investing.
Share the wealth
For those of you who have started on the path of investing, congratulations! You are in the power position of not only growing your financial wealth, but also sharing your wealth of investing knowledge. So, for International Women’s Day, I encourage you to find another female in your life — be it your daughter, mother, sister, co-worker or friend — and talk about investing.
Try starting the conversation by looking at the finish line: What are your goals?
We found that women who prioritize growing wealth have not only identified their goals, but can describe them in detail. Are you planning to build a college education fund for your children, save for retirement or start a business? How much do you need to save, and by when? You don’t need to know all the answers, but by thinking through them, you’re on your way to establishing a goal-based investment plan.
March 8 gives us a moment to pause and think about women’s growing economic impact around the world. It can also be a chance to open up a conversation right close to home about those meaningful financial goals that 94 percent of us have.
If you lay those goals alongside the Fabulous 5 Behaviors of Financially Successful Women, you have the makings of a great conversation with some first steps to take on the road to financial empowerment.