On the 108th anniversary of International Women’s Day, FrontFundr, Canada’s number one investment crowdfunding site has commissioned a survey to understand gender parity in personal finance for women, and the results aren’t good.
Only 12% of Canadian women aged 25 - 65 feel that they, personally have Financial Equality, where wealth is distributed equally. 29% of women in the same survey felt they had Financial Independence. Financial independence is not only a source of confidence but also gives women the credibility to participate in important matters of decision making, for themselves and their families.
45% of women surveyed believed personally they had none of Financial Equality, Financial Independence, a plan for retirement or enough savings for retirement.
Women manage $2.2 trillion of financial assets in Canada
CIBC undertook their Women and Wealth study in November 2018, which highlighted the financial assets that women control. They found41% of women (single, divorced, widows, and women responsible for investment decisions) control no less than $2.2 trillion of financial assets. And that number is expected to rise quickly, as the cohort of women with stronger labour incomes and retirees grows. CIBC estimates that by 2028, women will control just under $3.8 trillion or more than one-third of total financial assets (in 2018$ terms)—and more than double that number if real-estate assets are included. That estimate could be amplified if returns on women’s portfolios rise to be closer to their male counterparts.
Our research supports the findings of the CIBC survey, but takes it a step further, as to what else needs to be done to bridge that gap, so women feel financial independence and financial equality. The CIBC research recommends gender blind wealth advisors, but with women living longer and earning less, perhaps we need a different strategy.
Canadian women have fewer savings and greater needs
Canadian women outlive Canadian men by nearly four years. This means they have to support themselves for longer. Women typically earn less than men; this is in part due to the types of jobs they do, a higher percentage of women are in part-time work, and also a disparity in earnings for the same role. Statistics Canada data suggests that women earn 95% of their male counterparts doing the same role with the same experience. This is changing but still exists. On top of that, women typically have a shorter work life, due to caring for children or parents. When they return to work, this can be a barrier for work advancement, and the ability to earn a higher salary. One could argue this means that women don’t need Financial Equality but Financial bias, to create greater wealth in a shorter period of time to sustain them for longer.
Women are very cautious savers
But women are turning to lower return investments. 52% of those surveyed said their savings are in cash, the highest percentage for all the assets in their retirement plan. While it is recommended to keep 2-6 months of cash on hand, this seems significantly higher. Current high-interest bank rates in Canada are around 1%and with inflation hovering around 2% it means putting longer-term savings in the bank leads to a loss of money in real terms.
Women need to look to inflation beating investing, and for those that do, the outlook is rosier. In FrontFundr's survey, 69% of the women in the survey who invest, rarely or never change their investments. It’s been said that Warren Buffet trades like a woman, by taking a longer-term approach to investing, and this longer-term approach is, as he has proved, more successful for growing your savings. Investing is not get rich quick and there is always a degree of risk.
Why women need private companies in their diversified portfolios
For many years, Canadians have had the option of investing in public companies on the stock exchanges. The ability to buy and sell shares, especially online is great, but the greatest gains tend to be in the private markets that most Canadians have been locked out of. US data shows private equity has had an average annual return of 11.8% over the past 10 years vs. 6.9%/annum for S&P 500.
FrontFundr brings you curated deals that you wouldn’t even know about or even have access to, for a long-term investment, and to diversify your portfolio.
Women need the time to invest
But the challenge is getting the time to invest. 32% acknowledged they should take time to look at investing, but simply don’t have time. In the survey, the women responded they liked online investing because of the convenience and ability to invest any time of day, not just office hours. This is where online investing, such as crowdfunding could help address time. It allows people to review on their own schedule, and to ask the questions they need to.
The greatest reason for not investing, expressed by 44% of respondents, is not feeling comfortable making the decision. The campaigns on FrontFundr include the offering, details on the company, the team behind the company and the deal terms giving investors the information to make an informed decision. If you have a question for the company or on the process there is a Q&A section, the online chat, or you can email or call FrontFundr. When it comes to whether to invest or not, knowledge is power. You can look for a blog that you like, hopefully, this one, talk with friends and family on how they invest and seek professional advice.
Our research showed that women like to understand the business, the market, and the opportunity, and this takes time, time some women only have after work, after housework and putting the children to bed. The ability to review offerings online, at a time that is convenient, and to be able to ask questions of the company via an investment crowdfunding platform is very appealing. And advisors need to be able to provide their input at a time and in a manner that women want.
Six steps to achieve financial gender parity this #IWD and make a positive difference for human rights and women’s equality.
- Be confident – typically women invest differently, with more research into the companies, and for the longer term – this is good.
- Seek your own financial advisor
- Financial advisors, you need to create a financial bias to achieve women’s greater savings needs
- Find ways to invest on your own schedule, when you have the time to review and ask the questions you need to.
- Knowledge is power to increase financial independence, take every opportunity to gain it.
- Include shares in private companies as part of your long term diversified portfolio, target 10% of your portfolio
2019 FrontFundr Women & Investing Study: March 2019 an online survey of 100 randomly selected Canadian women who are Survey Monkey Audience Panelists aged between 25 and 65 was executed in house. The panel has been weighted by age. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.