“Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20,” notes a recent article at The New York Times.
This change represents “the most sweeping and historically symbolic makeover of American currency in a century,” as the slaveholding Jackson flips to the back of the bill while abolitionist Tubman takes his place on the front.
Tubman is not the only woman gaining prominence in the redesign of U.S. currency. Women will be added to the back of other denominations: Eleanor Roosevelt and singer Marian Anderson will appear on the back of the $5 note and suffrage leaders Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and Susan B. Anthony will be depicted on the back of the ten spot.
As women’s increased prominence in currency design catches media attention, research findings reveal that women’s perspectives in investing, saving, and retirement planning are also prominent.
Is your understanding of women’s sentiments and preferences regarding such issues “on the money?” Is it time for you, too, to make “far-reaching change?”
‘There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.’ --Marlene Dietrich
There are many differences between men and women in circumstances and perspective when it comes to retirement planning.
“The Retirement Rules of Thumb Fall Short For Women,” notes Forbes. Standard retirement savings guidelines suggest consumers save 15% annually in an attempt to cover 80% of pre-retirement income, and to invest one times salary by age 30.
However, this standard will “leave women with a pot of money that is substantially smaller than that of most men,” according to Forbes.
Obstacles women confront in amassing funds include longer lifespans, earnings $500,000 less than men over a career, and time away from work to care for family members—also resulting in fewer Social Security benefits.
Further, women tend to be more conservative in approaching investment risk.
Younger women face particularly difficult challenges. “Millennial Women Save Less, Owe More,” notes benefitspro.com. “Millennial women have a difficult relationship with money, particularly when it comes to retirement.”
As a whole, millennials hope to save 9% of salary for retirement. Unfortunately, debt in combination with lower salaries make 9% saving an unattainable goal, particularly for women.
The article suggests that millennial women’s high levels of education are partially to blame. Forty-three percent of women in this age group have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 41% of men of similar age.
This education comes with a price tag, and higher debt levels mean fewer dollars are available for saving.
But these circumstances are not the only differences existing between men and women, as demonstrated in a survey by TIAA, which “measures the changing attitudes on life in retirement and how people prepare” per The Washington Post.
The article highlights five differences:
1. Men start retirement planning sooner. Thirty-percent of men start before age 30 compared to 12% of women.
2. Men are more apt to be very satisfied with financial health (58%) than women (46%).
3. Women spend time alone for personal interests, family, and friends in retirement.
4. Women are more inclined to volunteer (58% vs 42%), care for family (43% vs 26%), and engage in religious activities (36% vs 25%).
5. Women are twice as likely as men to say their biggest retirement concern is not having enough money (29% vs 15%).
“It is the responsibility of employers and the financial services industry to create new and innovative programs that will give women new confidence in their ability to save for a secure retirement,” notes the article.
‘The shortest period of time lies between the minute you put some money away for a rainy day and the unexpected arrival of rain.’ --Jane Bryant Quinn
Do you know why “Women Don’t Trust Financial Advice?”
It’s because “more than 90% of the respondents to a recent survey said they felt financial services companies were more interested in selling them products than providing advice.”
A 2015 study by the Max Planck Institute found financial advisors with conflict of interest “tend to provide worse advice to clients who appear unsophisticated” and those “who appear to be more versed in financial matters receive better advice, on average.”
It would appear that financial literacy is key when assessing and accepting proffered financial advice.
But women can overcome investment fears, says U.S. News & World Report, which cites four strategies:
1. Know the basics. It is important to be an educated investor. Women need to know the “fundamentals of asset allocation.”
2. Know your situation. What is being done—participation in employer plans? IRAs? What is the composition of assets in the portfolio?
3. Consult fee-only advisors who “are held to a higher fiduciary standard.”
4. “Embrace the differences” between men and women as investors.
Women generally are better savers than men, and they also have a greater sense of realism about investment performance. “Women should recognize the value their approach brings… and get involved in the conversation,” the article notes.
GOBankingRates has “10 Tips for Women to Start Investing.” Financial expert Nicole Lapin suggests that when women “stop looking at your financial life as something of deprivation and more of something as aspiration, that’s when you actually feel comfortable taking control of your own finances.”
Among the advice: Women should participate in workplace plans, obtain on-the-job investing education, check emotions when making investment decisions, research before making investments, seek help from a financial pro, counteract personal bias, and start now.
Finally, using robo-advisors as part of an investment strategy may be helpful.
In fact, at least one exists that has been planned specifically for women.
“Ellevest aims to take some of the testosterone out of investing,” says an article at Fortune, and it is “designed around women.”
The technology has factored in women’s longer lifespan and lesser earnings. And, it is goal-based, not focused on the outcomes of a specific portfolio or product.
“While Ellevest’s goal is to help individual women make smart investments, the company’s larger mission is to help close the investment gender gap, which can cost women thousands or even millions of dollars over the course of their lives,” says the article.
Meeting the specific needs of women is becoming a function of financial providers that becomes increasingly important.
Perhaps the images of influential women on American currency will serve as a reminder that women have unique financial needs and concerns that service providers can aspire to address.
Such providers will not only gain market share, but help instill optimism and confidence for female investors; and that’s where it all starts.
In the words of Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”