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Women and Investing

February 2, 2022

If you are anything like me the last thing you need is one more thing on your to-do list, but as a female in investments I feel strongly about this topic. Women, especially women of color, are more likely to live below the poverty line than males and face financial insecurity into their golden years. There are a variety of factors that affect income but on average females earn $.82 for each dollar a male earns.  There has been significant work to close the gender pay gap, but it continues to exists.  The intention of this article is not to argue why or how the gap exists, simply to acknowledge that it does exist and what that means.  Not only does the average woman earn less than the average man, but women also tend to outlive their male counterparts. The combination of these two factors make it vitally important for women to be investors.  

Historically there has been a variety of stereotypes plaguing women and investment.  These include anything from women just aren’t interested in the topic to they are overly risk adverse, or just not good with money.  Research has shown that these stereotypes are just not true. Overall research shows women and men are equally good with money, to slanting a bit towards women being better at following a budget. Most interesting to me is numerous studies have shown women to be more successful investors.  However, fewer women than men have investment accounts. 

So what is holding us back?  Yes, the average female makes less money than the average male but the average female is also better at budgeting and stretching a dollar than their male counterparts.  We shouldn’t allow less money to stand in the way of investing for a financially secure future.  Many platforms allow the purchase of fractional shares and most mutual funds can be purchased in any denomination.  Set a budget, no matter how small, and start investing for your future. 

Starting the process of investing can come through a variety of venues.  If you are comfortable going it alone there are several online brokerage options that exist.  If you would prefer a more human approach, find an advisor that you feel comfortable with.  This person may or may not be the person your family or friend recommends.  Make sure this person listens to your needs and goals and together you come up with a plan that will get you successfully on your way.  The sooner you start investing in your future the more secure your financial future will be.

Written by Lora Brons, CFA - Iowa State Bank VP, Investment Officer