After 5 years and over 300 interviews with globally successful women (and men this year), I have reached a few conclusions about women and money. Before I share these with you, I should make it clear that while the findings are my own, these really are the stories of 300 smart people.
Let’s start with a review of the key highlights of my Rich Thinking research so far:
- Women prefer to learn about finance through real life stories from role models or family members rather than more traditional methods such as reading from textbooks, taking courses or watching financial news.
- On the topic of money, the most common theme that accomplished women learned when they were growing up was the importance of being financially independent.
- Women are risk aware, not risk averse. They are detail-oriented and reflective before making decisions.
- Women prefer to invest in causes and concerns that matter to them and/or that interest them.
- Smart women ‘get started’ investing. They decide whether they want to do their own investing or they hire an advisor that they trust. They know that doing nothing is the highest risk investment behaviour of all.
And here is my ‘sneak preview’ of this year’s research:
#1 – More women = more money
The big trends: women control more of the spending, women are making more money, they are controlling more money and they are making more of the financial decisions. And they also have the expectation that they will be able to add to, grow, or create their own wealth.
#2 – The biggest target market will be the financially confident woman
The idea that women have money is not new. But the way in which we have sold to them is changing. The financially confident woman is more financially literate than she has ever been. But to me the important thing is that they know it is all up to them. They aren’t going ‘oh I need to manage my money until my brother gets back from the war’. It isn’t an interim thing, they’re not waiting for their next husband to do it!
#3 – Technology changes everything: mobile, sharing & data
Technology changes how women inform themselves about stocks and bonds; it changes how they find their money managers; and it changes how the financial industry communicates with them. Certain technologies will be more of a ‘gamechanger’ for women than men – for example, social, mobile, crowd, the sharing economy and gamification.
The successful companies of 2015 and beyond will be the ones that a) focus on ‘her’ – their customer, and b) the ones that understand how a woman juggling a job, a dog and two kids need to multi-task on a smartphone while managing her money.