Financial Empowerment

Financial wellness for women: a work in progress

As we look back on International Women's Day 2024, it's vital to acknowledge the considerable advancements women have made in ensuring their financial security. Although women invest more money than ever before, they still face many issues., such as the gender pay gap as well as a sense of hesitation when it comes to investing. Much work still needs to be done to accelerate women's financial wellness. Dive into the article below to learn more.

As International Women’s Day 2024 fades into the rearview mirror, it’s important to recognize the major strides women have made when it comes to their financial well-being. More women are investing than ever before: according to the Motley Fool, as of 2023, around 60% of women invest in the stock market. This statistic indicates a significant improvement considering the historical rate of 40%.

However, women continue to face challenges due to the gender pay gap as well as a sense of hesitation when it comes to investing. There continues to be wide gaps across generations of women, although the future remains bright. Moreover, there needs to be a general understanding of how investing for women may differ from men due to certain factors, such as average life expectancy and family care responsibilities.

In this article, we take a look at the trends within women’s investing and extrapolate towards the future of women investing for those looking to accelerate women’s financial wellness.

New generations of women investors are bucking trends

Traditionally, financial planning has been seen as the purview of men, leaving women less likely to invest. That’s why, even today, the median retirement account balance is 44% lower for women than for men. According to a study by Vanguard, the median balance for men is $45,106, whereas it is $31,291 for women.

However, as seen in the investing habits of younger generations of women, this trend seems to be changing. According to the Motley Fool, 68% of women are saving for retirement and 60% of women are investing in the stock market.

Women are investing at younger ages as well: 71% of Gen-Z women and 63% of millennial women are investing, while this number decreases into Gen X and Baby Boomers, to 55% and 57%, respectively. Moreover, women are starting to open brokerage accounts earlier, giving more time for compound interest to accrue. According to Fidelity, women between the ages of 18 to 35 first opened a brokerage account at age 21, on average, and a retirement account at age 20, on average. For women aged 36 and older, the average age to first open a brokerage account was 30, and a retirement account at age 27.

Women are more disciplined investors

Numerous studies have been conducted on investment returns by gender, and many of them have found that women investors tend to outperform men.

A 2017 Fidelity report found that the difference was 0.4%, while a study by the Warwick Business School found that women investors outperformed the FTSE 100 by 1.94% whereas men outperformed the same index by 0.14%.

Comparatively, women are also more conservative investors, taking on less risky assets and opting for bonds rather than stocks. While this may be the appropriate approach for older generations, like Gen X and Baby Boomers who are quickly approaching or already in retirement, it may be holding younger investors, like Gen-Z and Millennials back from greater gains.

This conservatism may also translate into women’s attitudes toward volatility in the market. Market fluctuations make less impact on women’s trades than men. An Ellevest study found that 38% of women reported feeling concerned about market volatility compared to 58% of men.

The future of women investing

If the numbers are anything to go by, the future of investing for women looks bright. However, there are still challenges to overcome, such as the gender pay gap, different risk strategies for life stages, the burden of care and more.

Organizations, companies and individuals looking to improve women’s investment need to continue to focus on younger generations and disseminate financial information. This information should include investment strategies as well as how to improve pay over the long term through asking for commensurate pay raises. Moreover, there needs to continue to be focus on the outsized role that women take on as primary caretakers of children and older parents.

How Olive is bridging the gap

At Olive, we are committed to helping millions of people worldwide achieve positive financial outcomes with our card-linking platform.

Our mission is to help millions of people worldwide achieve positive financial outcomes with our embedded finance platform, especially women who are underrepresented. Our tools allow managers to provide easy, turnkey customer solutions that simplify investing for women. With card-linking, women can enjoy micro-investing through rounding. Rounding powered by card-linking is a tool that can reduce the barriers for women in their investment journey.

Rounding facilitates fractional investing, making it easier for women to diversify their holdings even with limited funds. Imagine rounding up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar or any chosen amount and investing the difference and all without changing shopping habits. That is the power of card-linking technology. Olive helps money managers, empowers your customers to turn every purchase they make into micro-deposits into their accounts with you.

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