Today is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for gender equality.
There’s no denying that there is much room for improvement on the gender equality front when it comes to the financial world. One problem is the fact that women are massively under-represented in the financial services industry, another is the major hurdles women face when it comes to personal finance.
On the one hand there is the gender pay gap which doggedly refuses to go away and is, in fact, worsening during the pandemic. In addition, women face the ‘motherhood pay penalty’ as they take on the lion’s share of the work in raising children which has a detrimental effect on their ability to earn, save and invest for the future (an issue which has also been exacerbated by the pandemic). Add into the mix the fact that on average women live longer than men, and therefore have to support themselves for longer in retirement, and you have a pretty toxic cocktail of challenges for women to surmount in order to reach a position of financial security.
And yet women are good savers. Certain studies show that when savings are adjusted to earnings women actually save a higher percentage than men. A major problem is that many women are not taking advantage of opportunities to build wealth and therefore missing a trick when it comes to taking care of their financial futures. This is illustrated by the fact that far fewer women than men engage in the stock market.
Here at Infinity we strongly believe in empowering women to take control of their finances. We hear from many women that they are hesitant to invest for a number of different reasons: they lack knowledge of the investment arena, they fear risk so stick with low-interest deposit accounts, they don’t relate to investment products, perceiving them to be for the super wealthy, and they feel that seeking advice will be out of their reach financially.
If you are holding back from investing for any of those reasons, solutions are out there.
While it’s true that the financial world has been created by men and the jargon can be off putting for women (and many men). The basic principles are simple: save regularly, have a well-balanced portfolio and look to the long term.
Nor do you have to go it alone with your financial planning. Financial advisers are not just for life’s high earners, the majority of their clients are ordinary people looking to invest wisely to fulfil their financial goals, number one of which is a secure retirement.
A good financial adviser will take the time to get to know you, work out your concerns, goals and tolerance to risk and explain anything that you are unsure about before you invest any of your hard-earned cash. Of course, it’s important to find someone trustworthy so make sure you go with someone who is qualified, operates with full transparency and within a strict regulatory framework.
Talking of risk, while you might feel that the bank is a safe haven for your savings, you’re neglecting to consider the threat of inflation on cash deposits earning minimal interest. While a certain amount of risk is ever present in the stock market, it can be mitigated. There are investment products to suit all investors, even the most cautious, and if you look at the historical performance of the stock market, it has always delivered for long term (10 years +) investors. Invest in a diversified portfolio over a long enough timeframe and your money will grow more than it will in the bank.
On the question of affordability, getting the right financial advice doesn’t have to be expensive. Many advisers offer a free initial consultation. While some take their fees from the product providers, others charge, however it may be less expensive than you think and if it means you have a solid financial plan which is helping to build your wealth, this is a sound investment in your future. The golden rule is that an adviser should be upfront with you about how they are remunerated so don’t be afraid to ask.
If you think it’s time you took control of your financial future, one of our highly qualified financial advisers can provide the support you need to overcome your reservations about investing. Contact us for a free, no-obligation chat and get empowered!
A leading provider of expat financial services and wealth management services across Asia.