Investing warning as women face 'significant financial shortfall' – are you missing out?

Dormant bank account: Finance expert offers advice
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Ms Robinson is also the founder of Moxies Future, the world’s first educational community platform that aims to empower women as investors. Ms Robinson acts as strategic advisor to institutional investors and has a vested interest in everything related to green finance, sustainability, responsible investment and gender.

“The harsh reality is that many women are simply not investing enough,” she said.

“The gender investing gap matters because many women are saving less for retirement and parking more in cash, resulting in a significant financial shortfall in the longer term.

“Of course, the gender pay disparity compounds this, but it also means that women are missing out on making the money they do have work better for them,” Ms Robinson commented.

But what exactly is it that’s stopping women in general from making their money go further and exploring the investment industry? Ms Robinson suggested there may be some notable barriers to consider:

Confidence – “Research indicates that women lack confidence when it comes to investing. Erring on the side of caution seems to be the default approach for many women. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy as experience builds confidence.”

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Language– “Conversations about money can be intimidating and often the language used by investment professionals can be at best, unfamiliar; at worst, utterly baffling. This can put women off and historically the industry has done little to build levels of financial literacy,” said Ms Robinson.

Communication – “It’s not just the language and terminology used. It is also the core messages we communicate to women when it comes to money assumptions and expectations.

“Linguistic research highlights that the media and advertising industries tend to depict women as needing to limit, restrict and take better control of splurges. Whereas men are encouraged to ‘dare to invest’, subtly implying that financial success makes you ‘more of a man’.”

Perception – “Some women hold the perception that ‘investing is not for them’. Not really surprising given the barriers highlighted above.”

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Compounding these considerations, it seems to be an almost impossible task to try and change the gender disparity in the investing world. However, Ms Robinson is determined that by providing a few key areas with some attention, more women will be able to make the most out of their income:

Focus on improving levels of financial literacy for women – “The investment industry itself can play a constructive role in this, so too can schools and universities,” she explained. “Excitingly there are more and more female-focused investment networks and solutions popping up – we need more so let’s actively support these.”

Encourage more women to work in the investment industry – “A better gender balance is critical because diversity of thought, experience and action are core components of what the industry needs to be fit for the future.

“More women working in the industry will help build trust with female clients, as well as doing a better job at designing products and services suited to women’s financial needs.”

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Change the way we communicate with women on money matters – “We must change how we communicate with women about personal finance. Let’s drop the portrayal of women as excessive spenders, in need of guidance to help them save and restrict.

“Let’s shine a spotlight on the many amazing female role models who are leading the charge on investing,” Ms Robinson commented.

Leverage tech to democratise the way that we invest – “Developments in tech offer us a pathway to connect and communicate with women in different ways from the past.

“We must employ a female lens when designing tech-based investment solutions for female clients. We need to customise investment products and services that fit best for what women are looking for today.”

Think more deeply about women’s financial needs – ‘pink washing’ will not cut it – “Simply rebranding products for a female audience will not achieve the change we are looking for. The industry also needs to think more deeply about the kind of products and services that women want.

“For example, increasingly women are seeking out sustainable investing products and services to include in their personal portfolios.”

Between the job losses, lockdowns and general monetary turmoil that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of people are now far more tuned into how their money can be best spent and Ms Robinson believes this could be what drives women into investing.

The author said: “One good thing to come out of the pandemic is that many women are more focused on their financial futures. Let us seize this opportunity to close the gender investing gap – certainly a prize worth chasing?”