Good With Money today publishes a guide to investing for women.
It was important for women to build up their own reserves before the coronavirus crisis – and we believe the fight for #EqualWealth is even more important now.
From “F*** off funds” to “pandemic pots” – the need to build up long-term buffers has never been greater
Despite what’s happening around us in the coronavirus emergency, investing – for those with the cash to do so – still makes sense (although what you invest in makes a difference, and we will come to that). In fact, it makes even more sense.
The pandemic and the personal financial crisis it has caused have thrown into sharp focus the need for financial security; savings buffers that can be drawn upon at a moment’s notice and fall-back plans for a sudden loss of income.
For women, one motivational message that has had some success in the past is the need to build a “f*** off fund”: a pot of cash that is available to you if you decide to leave your partner.
But there are clearly many, many other reasons to save and while another pandemic in our lifetimes seems unlikely, we can now add unforeseen global events to the list of reasons to build our personal resilience.
Other reasons are ill health (your own or someone else’s) that prevents you from earning, your children’s future financial security, freedom to make positive career and life choices, so that you can not earn for a few months and not worry… and so on and so on.
Women earn less than men. They take more time out of work to care for children and elderly relatives than men. Their vulnerability to financial shocks is therefore greater – as is the likelihood that they have to rely on a partner’s income (and pension pot) through their lifetimes. This is in itself a vulnerability, given the divorce rate.
So yes, women need to invest more than they do. Why not join us, and make it a new life goal for 2020?
From a nation of spenders… to a nation of savers?
The traditional guidance has always been to have at least three to six months’ of income sat in savings, just in case. But in recent times, with debt and spending high relative to wage growth, such a savings pot has seemed almost unobtainable to all but the wealthiest.
The coronavirus emergency suggests it’s time to renew our focus on achieving that pot; to do what we can to avoid living hand-to-mouth and for today only. It’s true that you can’t take it with you – and experiences do create memories – but choose them carefully, or they will also create debt.
It’s possible that as a nation, our financial priorities change as a result of this crisis, and we will begin to focus more on hoarding and preserving – like our grandparents did – rather than spending.
If your income hasn’t been cut or you haven’t lost your job through the current turmoil, you might even be saving more money than usual. So now, ironically, could be the IDEAL time to start building your reserves.
Why focus on women?
Why do women need their own investment guide? To answer this, we need to go down the rabbit hole with a few more “Why?” questions.
Women don’t invest as much as men. Why? There are a number of reasons for this but as simply as possible: men have, throughout history, had more money than women (it is that old thing of men are the earners, women are the spenders), so the entire investment industry has grown up marketing itself to men, as the earners and keepers of wealth. It hardly knows how to market itself to women, in the way that the marketing brains behind all of our biggest retail brands do (because women are the ‘spenders’, retailers tend to target women), because it has never done so.
These decades-old, male-based marketing strategies are becoming outdated in a world where increasing numbers of women earn more than their husbands; where investing has come out from behind the curtain of (mostly male) IFAs and brokers that once guarded it and can now be done on a phone (time-poor women like convenience) and is also, since the advent of sustainable and impact investing, becoming nicer. This type of investing, by the way, has fared better through the recent crisis than the arguably more male approach of: “if it makes money, invest in it”.
The investment world is more female-friendly than it has ever been.
But once a furrow this deep is ploughed, it’s very difficult to get the plough out. So while the industry wrestles with how to turn its plough around and reach this huge, vast, untapped ocean of opportunity in the form of one entire half of the population, we bring you a guide, so you don’t have to wait for the advertisers to invade your inbox: you can find out about investing for yourself.
Now, this website is founded and written by women, but it’s not necessarily for women. It is for everyone. Even so, the Good With Money audience, it turns out, is 50 per cent female. That’s about twice the proportion of women than usually read a finance-based website – and we like to think that’s because our approach is different – more accessible – than most. We’re quite proud of that.
So writing this guide to investing for women felt right and the sponsors – EQ Investors and Energise Africa, two investment platforms where you will hopefully find something to float your boat, agreed. But it’s not pink and it’s not fluffy. If you are a man interested in investing for the first time, it’s for you, too.
Investing is for anyone that wants a more secure long-term financial future and has some spare cash to set aside to help make that dream a reality. It’s more important now than ever. It’s always been important for women, but the investment industry has largely ignored this entire half of the population.
Let’s make them notice us.
Who is for #EqualWealth?
Grab a cuppa and read the guide today.