Financial Literacy as Gender Equalizer

As an advisor to wealthy families, I have experienced firsthand the inequalities that continue to hold women back from feeling financially independent.

There are antiquated norms and practices that continue to keep women at arm’s length from their money.

Women need to take charge and the financial services industry needs to change.

Most would agree that women are gaining equality in many areas, including business ownership, education, and employment.

When it comes to money, however, women are far from being treated equally.  Women must demand equal treatment, and for it three major changes should happen:

 

  • The Industry: The financial services industry was built during a time in which men dominated financial decision-making. Financial professionals continue to focus their attention on men, mistakenly assuming they own the wealth, and will ultimately make the decisions. Women often walk away from meetings feeling diminished, disregarded or out rightly dismissed.  The financial industry needs to direct their services to men and women equally. Women will take notice and will choose to work with professionals who speak directly to them.
  • Approach: Men and women approach wealth differently. Men often see money as a score card while women see money more holistically, impacting their health, families and lifestyle. More than anything, women want to be heard.  Financial professionals need to understand how men and women differ in their approach to finances and change their approach. Women desire a much broader discussion about their “financial lives.”
  • Communication: Financial professionals often speak jargon that only they understand. Over time, men have become more familiar with their language (though likely understand less than they let on). Women want professionals who can related to them, understand their needs, and take the time to explain things in language they understand.

 

While financial professionals need to change,  women also need to demand equality.  

Women are often not well-versed in financial matters – and therefore not confident enough – to demand equal treatment.

 I believe that an understanding of personal finance is a great social and generational equalizer.

By engaging women in financial conversations, I hope to increase that understanding. Women can no longer defer to men on financial matters.

Financial literacy as gender equalizer also applies to cases of home violence against women.  

As discussed  with groups which deal with battered women, financial independence is a big differentiator for women to gain control of themselves and leave a bad relationship.  Financial literacy and consequently financial independence could be the big difference between staying with the wrong partner or saying “no more”

Women should be aware of their financial situation, regardless of which it is.  

They should know what is their net worth, what they can do and can not do, what will happen if they do no want to stay in a relationship, what will happen with their children financially.

Women should get educated in financial literacy and get control of their finances.

April was financial literacy month, but financial literacy should be a day to day educational process.  In the last  poll on financial literacy (Gallup 2015) only 1 in 3 Americans pass the financial literacy exam.  Only 57% of Americans know about it.  And when it comes to women the number goes down to 47%.  The Nordic countries obtained the best results with an approval rate of 71%. 

Be part of that 47% and help to increase it.  Start learning today!  You are never a day too soon.

Interested in knowing more about personal finances, what about financial coaching? Check our Finlearning page, or write to learn@myfinancebliss.com

 

 

 

Finbliss team

It’s your financial life. Embrace it. An educational community of financially aware women helping, supporting and guiding one another.

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