The busy lives we lead today have us juggling and multitasking roles and responsibilities left, right and center. Careers, finances, friendships, family — these are just a few of the areas we balance daily. Women often bear the brunt of these responsibilities, even more so in the last few years. According to a 2021 survey by Deloitte, 66% of women say they have the greatest responsibility for household tasks — and 23% of women are considering leaving the workforce mainly due to increased workload at home and at work during the pandemic.
With such complicated lives, it can be difficult to manage it all. One crucial area for women to pay attention to is wealth management, which affects so many facets of their lives and futures. Women are increasingly in charge of managing finances. From 2015 to 2020, there was a 30% increase in the number of married women making financial household decisions. And by 2030, women are expected to control much of the $30 trillion in assets Baby Boomers will possess.
Despite this transfer of wealth, a gender gap remains. A disparity in earnings and a lack of confidence are just a few of the unique challenges facing women that result in them sometimes being left out of the conversation about wealth management.
At Ally, we’re passionate about providing the space for that dialogue, so we spoke with Jack Howard, senior director of Ally Invest Advisors Operations and Nicole Cope, senior director of Ally Invest Advisors.
Build Your Smarts
Jack Howard: We know investing can be intimidating for a lot of people. But women, in particular, report lower levels of knowledge compared to their male counterparts — even when they have the same level of experience and are investing the same dollar amounts. How can women increase their confidence around investing and wealth management?
Nicole Cope: That’s right. Increasing your knowledge on the topic can definitely improve confidence, and we encourage seeking out financial information and advice from a variety of trusted sources.
While women do tend to have less confidence in finances than men, even when they have the same experience, our research also shows women with their own trading or investment account are 48% more likely to rate themselves as knowledgeable. Having their own account also reduces the knowledge gap between men and women from 18% to 13%. Your own account provides a sense of ownership, which motivates you to learn more and to make the best decisions to build your investments. In return, your confidence increases.
Put investing to the top of your list.
Jack Howard: I agree, and if you’re on the fence about starting to invest, aim to take just a first step. Maybe you’ve had it on your to-do list … now make it a priority. If there’s one regret women who are actively investing have, it’s that they didn’t start sooner. In fact, 60% of women wished they started investing when they were 25 years old, and a full three-quarters wish they started when they were under 30. What’s more, 86% of women believe it’s important to start investing when you’re young, and 82% wished they started investing earlier than they did.
I consider myself part of that group — I started investing in my company 401(k) but really did not understand the capital markets. I wish I had taken the time to learn more about investing — I also wish I had invested more at a young age to take full advantage of the power of compound interest.
As women, we have a lot on our plates (career, marriage, raising children), but wealth management should also be a priority. Instead of looking at it as one more task on your to-do list, view it as a way to empower yourself and make the most of your money. You can start small, increase your contributions over time and your future self will thank you for your foresight.
Partner with a professional.
Nicole Cope: Absolutely — getting started early is a huge advantage. Another barricade we see is women may think working with a financial professional is not for them. Just 15% use a financial planner compared to 21% of men. Women also lag when it comes to trusting in the financial advice they get. While 45% of men report they are confident they’re receiving good financial advice, only 38% of women feel the same way.
The truth is wealth management is for everyone, and establishing a relationship with a trusted wealth advisor can help you navigate the financial implications of major life events, including marriage, job changes, having children and planning for retirement.
Jack Howard: Those life transitions are a great point. A strong wealth management strategy helps women approach those changes with certainty about their finances. When you get married, for example, you might wonder how to merge your money. (Or whether to do so.) When you get that promotion and raise, how should you revise your retirement savings strategy? Parents want to know about the best ways to save for their kids’ college. Every step of the way, an advisor offers guidance on those choices.
We know today, nearly a quarter of women manage most of their family’s finances, and another 20% say they share management responsibilities with their partner. So, it’s essential for them to have an active role in building and managing wealth, too.
Empower yourself to take charge.
Women today have more choices and opportunities than ever before. Wealth management is one integral component to prepare for those future possibilities, boosting your confidence in making the best financial decisions for you.
Ready to prioritize wealth building?
As senior director of wealth advisors at Ally Invest, Nicole Cope is responsible for the management of the Wealth Advisor business. With her leadership, she brings a passion for building strong client-advisor relationships and incorporating behavioral finance into wealth management practices.
Jack Howard serves as the Senior Director of Advisors Operations for Ally Invest, managing the operational processes of the Wealth Advisor business. She is responsible for the Ally Invest Inclusive Wealth strategy that is part of the Ally enterprise Financial Social Inclusion (FSI) efforts and serves as secretary for the Ally Charitable Foundation.