A survey by Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest reveals the deep financial secrets held by women
When it comes to their finances, women are deeply unsatisfied.
That’s one finding from a poll of just over 1,000 women recently conducted by Ellevest, the female-friendly investing platform led by ex-Wall Street maven Sallie Krawcheck. Nearly half of respondents (48%) agree with the statement that they needed to work doubly hard to get half as much as men do. And about the same number (47%) say that they know how to achieve their financial goals, meaning that over 50% of all females are in the dark.
Indeed, the findings from the Ellevest 2018 Money Census, which Krawcheck wrote about in the latest issue of Money, make for dark reading. Nearly three-fifths of females (59%) report a dearth of financial knowledge and more than half (53%) aren’t happy with their salary. Just 36% of women report being satisfied with their net worth, while only four out of 10 respondents say they’re happy with how much they’ve put away for retirement. (For context, many women will have to save more than their male counterparts because they live longer.)
“Check the gender mix at your local nursing home: 80% of women die single, and they’re also 80% more likely to be impoverished in retirement than men,” writes Krawcheck. “Yuck.”
The chief executive and co-founder of Ellevest pins this down to what she calls the “gender investing gap,” or simply, the tendency for women to keep their assets in low-risk, but also zero-return, cash. (According to BlackRock figures she cites, women hold about 71% of their assets in cash versus 60% for men.) Respondents to her poll sometimes weren’t aware that such a gap even exists and those who did pegged the divide at an average $113,000. Instead, Ellevest thinks that it could be over $1 million across a 35-year career.
That said, the situation seems ripe for change. Just as the results of the 2016 presidential election caused much soul searching in partisan quarters, nearly half of Ellevest respondents say that the electoral college victory of Donald Trump led them to reevaluate their finances. For her part, Krawcheck recommends using your 401(K) if you have one, and also consulting with a trusted financial advisor, among other tips.
“Studies have found that once women do invest, they outperform men by nearly one percentage point a year,” she writes. “We receive messages that we’re not as good at math as men; we’re not as good at investing. Um, no. Typically women outperform because they don’t overtrade, panic in down markets, or pay too much in fees.”
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved