By Mandy Dean — Washington, D.C.
When it comes to investing money and setting financial goals, millennials are behind. But most alarming is the difference in which young men and women approach their own financial planning. Though equally educated, women are often met with different workplace realities than men – fewer opportunities for promotion or advancement and, of course, that pesky phenomenon known as the “gender pay gap” – thus they find investing earnings using the same strategies as men can be less than beneficial.
While income inequality remains a seemingly inescapable cancer within the workforce, older women are earning higher salaries and taking more agency with their finances than ever before. However, women are still largely timid about investing their hard-earned moo-lah and entering the male-dominated sphere of financial planning. Gordon Gekko may think “greed is good,” but for some women, the world of investment banking can be hostile and intimidating.
Men are five times more likely than women to prioritize investing, and often shrug off the inherent risk-taking it requires. The investment industry today is operated by advisors who are 86 percent men aged 50 years or older, a group by-and-large unfamiliar with a working woman’s career obstacles. A man’s proclivity for overconfidence coupled with access to nearly exclusive resourcing makes investing an easier and less-risky enterprise for men than many women find it to be.
Those of us who are a little unsure where to start with investment banking will do well to familiarize ourselves with Ellevest, an educational, goals-based investment advisor, by women for women. Aiming to change the game, Ellevest founder Sallie Krawcheck, realized “the current system wasn’t built for the realities of being [female].” So she set out to deliver a platform for women who demanded more.
As women continue to rise in the workplace, Ellevest implores all users to become banking bosses. With a lady army of Wall Street execs and a no-nonsense approach to investing, Ellevest offers automated portfolio management advice that is female-operated, female-focused and female-recommended.
All advice is tailored to help inexperienced or overwhelmed would-be female investors, and breaks down the financial pitfalls inherent to working women, such as a slower salary growth, longevity in retirement and the greater possibility of outliving their savings.
Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO whom Fortune Magazine labeled as “The Last Honest Analyst,” created Ellevest in 2016 through partnerships among finance industry veterans seeking to empower women to become fearless investors themselves.
So how does it work? Ellevest determines which investments should be considered by presenting the user with questions about her goals, retirement timeline and financial history. In turn, the program delivers customized plans that specifically address female-centric realities in the workplace while providing users with opportunities to invest smarter, avoid common missteps and receive greater dividends.
Though Ellevest remains a divisive tool among financial planners, many of whom reject the premise that the investment landscape is different for men and women, others commend its mission as they recognize women may have a different set of financial concerns, but maintain human advisors are more effective. Still, many more praise this digital platform as a service that addresses the gender gap built within traditional advisory structures.
While women continue to grapple with pay gaps and inequitable professional landscapes, business tools have evolved as more women build their fortunes in spite of these barriers.
According to a recent study, American women currently control $5 trillion of investable assets. Over the next few decades, that amount is expected to grow as women receive more than 70 percent of the $40 trillion that will make up the intra-generational wealth transfer. In addition, 60 percent of all college graduates are female, and women now open businesses at two times the rate of men.
Ellevest has adapted the investment advisory industry to make room for the inevitable surge of women, detailed in these numbers, who are in need of savvy, female-focused advisors.
The more you understand about what investment opportunities exist for you, the easier it will become to plan for your financial future. Invest like the lady body you are, and find out why Ellevest IS the best for women eager to master their finances.