Why Don’t Women Invest? (as much as men)
A few months ago, I read that millennial women are saving and investing less than millennial men. Not exactly a huge surprise—it is widely known that women, in general, save and invest far less than men—but I was secretly hoping that the sisterhood was makin’ some stealthy moves. Like, dang!! The most ass-kickingest generation of females this planet has ever known is dallying behind men in a category for which we have total autonomy?! What’s up with that?
Why don’t women invest as much as men? Why are so many women not investing at all?
Hell, even I didn’t invest until I was 25, and I worked for an investment management company! So what, exactly, was my excuse?
Well, I was busy celebrating my newfound financial freedom by siphoning money from my bank and into the coffers of San Francisco’s grimiest dive bars and costume shops. When I wasn’t at work or slugging whiskey, you could find me throwing away important pieces of mail, eating cold chow mein beneath the covers, or numbing through some Facebook quiz that culminated in a riveting explanation as to which Disney princess I most embody. Yep, I did it, I took the Disney princess quiz……YOU GUYS I AM NOT PROUD ABOUT IT!!! And I took that quiz not just once, but multiple times, changing my answers to manipulate for a desired outcome. (Come on, internet, I wanna be Mulan!!!) So yeah, that was my excuse. I was a apathetic about investing and it was fun to do exactly what I wanted.
Okay, your turn! What’s your excuse?? How come you don’t invest? Or if you do invest, but aren’t sure what you’re doing/aren’t doing enough, why is that?
There is no wrong answer here. No judgements! Think about it. Are you unsure? Or maybe having a hard time putting your finger on it? Would it help to take a quiz?……… a Disney princess quiz???!!!!!!!!? That’s right ya’ll! If you thought you would never see another Disney princess quiz for the rest of your life then you were sorely, sorely mistaken. Strap on your glass slippers and suck in those four-inch waists, ladies, ’cause you’re a Disney princess (excuse) now!!
It may seem like an utter waste of my time to have meticulously crafted this rare, specialty Disney princess quiz, but there’s good reason, I promise: Every good conversation about money starts with taking some ownership of our excuses. We know we should be doing more, but we’re not. We have to understand why.
So, without further ado, let’s loosen up and have some f-u-n:
First, read the statement below and choose which answer(s) you most relate to:
I don’t invest (enough) because:
1. It is confusing and I lack confidence
2. It’s boring
3. It’s the old, white man thing to do
4. Retirement is so far away, I’ll deal with it later
5. I don’t know where to get information
6. I can’t afford to invest
7. My husband/significant other does it for me
Next, scroll down to the corresponding number to your answer(s), and you’ll learn which Disney princess shares your exact same excuse for not investing!!
1. It is confusing and I lack confidence:
If you feel like Rapunzel and trapped in a proverbial tower of trepidation, you are not alone. In one study, 76% of women said they find investing confusing or scary. Of course they do! This ain’t information you slide out the womb with and it’s not like anyone taught us this stuff in school! Everyone needs a teacher.
2. It’s boring:
Life is so busy and interesting and fun and hard! If you’re like Belle, with lots going on, it’s not exactly a surprise that you haven’t made time for long-term financial planning. In the same study, 76% of women think that investing is unrelatable, which is a nice way of saying it sucks a neatly-arranged bowl of dicks.
3. It’s the old, white man thing to do:
60% of women keep their distance from investing because they think it’s for dusty, old, white dudes. I get that! I worked with them, they were my clients, and they were intimidating. There is no denying that it’s a boy’s club—don’t even get me started on Wall Street. Christopher Columbus-wannabes.
4. Retirement is far away, I’ll deal with it later:
When you’re young, saving for retirement is often the last thing on your mind. Understandably! In your twenties, your main concerns are like 1. can I afford to pay for water? and 2. do I look slutty enough in this outfit? In your thirties it is like 1. how am I going to afford a house? and 2. do I look slutty enough in this outfit?
5. I don’t know where to get information:
If our teachers and parents don’t teach us this top-5-life-skill, who will? Where are we supposed to go? Your broker (Dopey) and even financial adviser (Sneezy) can’t always be trusted—they sometimes sell you what earns them a commission, not what is best for you (poison apple). The books are dry (by Doc/Grumpy), and then there’s searching on the internet, which is pretty much just a winding, disorienting ramble through a haunted forest.
6. I can’t afford it:
Okay, this one is too harsh. If you are truly scrapin’ to get by, I am sympathetic, and we will talk. (For now, just no credit card debt please!)
Lack of clams got ya stuck? 41% of millennials agree that not having the money is biggest barrier to becoming an investor. What lots of young people don’t know is that you can start investing with even tiny amounts! If you have ever spent even $10 on a dinglehopper or $30 on thingamabob, you can afford to invest!
7. My husband/significant other does it for me:
Does your SO take care of the finances? I totally get it. If I had met someone that offered to save and manage my money ten years ago, I might have taken said offer. Luckily for me (??) I can’t keep a boyfriend to save my life. Gender roles remain entrenched: Women take control of the finances in only 27% of married couples.
And that concludes the quiz!
Despite its silliness, I hope you learned a little something about yourself. I have felt all of these concerns at one time or another—maybe you too, can relate!
And while yes, our excuses are understandable and our concerns valid, women are too often hurt or left behind because they aren’t confident with money. It is high time our generation shatters free from this tired, age-old narrative. I vow to do my part, but your personal growth won’t happen without a commitment to that growth. That includes a pledge to explore your relationship with money. Today, we’re just having fun and pokin’ at the sleeping bear, but keep at it! Keep poking! Keep thinking! How does money make you feel? What do you see as your biggest roadblocks to achieving financial confidence? What can I do to help?
In the coming months, we will work together to debunk some of the investing myths we touched upon today, such as: investing is only for the rich, it is only for old white dudes, you have “plenty of time” until retirement, and it is smart to allow a spouse to make all money decisions. The good news is, it won’t be hard to get on track. Yes, it sucks that millennial women aren’t currently investing at the same rates as men, but it’s okay—there is still plenty of time to catch up!