The Misogyny That Keeps Women From Investing

Ladies, listen up! Stop allowing yourselves to be treated like second-class citizens! More to the point: stop behaving like second-class citizens.

There’s more to women’s rights than equal pay and control over your reproductive organs. What about the fact that we, as a group, deny ourselves the right to be wealthy? According to CNBC, two in five affluent women say they’re “not at all” confident in their ability to invest. Kathy Murphy, president of Fidelity Personal Investing said, “The chief reason all women give as to why they’re not investing is that they think men are better at math.”

Shameful. And wholly untrue.

Also, a study last year by BlackRock Investments revealed that 71% of women say their portfolios are all in cash! In other words, 71% of us are letting our wealth lose value every single day. While we’ve made great strides breaking down institutional and societal barriers, the thread of misogyny doesn’t just run through businesses, governments and political parties. In many cases, it runs right through our own hearts, and we are in large part perpetrators of our own oppression.

Women Need to Take Part in Financial Decisions

When it comes to growing a nest egg, too many women still accept advice from a financial marketing complex that’s run by, and caters to, men. We often take a back seat to our husbands and fathers when making decisions that carry great consequences for our future well-being, just because they are men. (For related reading, see: Why Women Retire With Less Money.)

in 2016, the financial firm BlackRock conducted a study that points to stark differences in how women and men look at money and investing. It shows, “61% of women follow a household budget, just 23% regularly review the performance of their savings and investments.” This means that even though women save well, we still don’t take our rightful place at the table as investors.

Budgeting skills are important, but budgeting simply watches what goes out of your personal financial ecosystem. How about maximizing what you keep? That’s what investing does. And it’s critical that we learn how to become empowered, capable, and confident investors. (For related reading, see: Women: Invest in Your Financial Literacy.)

Also, did you know that women are shown to be more successful investors than men?

Research from the University of California, Berkeley found that women outperform men annually by approximately 1% when it comes to investing. So, we fight for equal pay, to be taken seriously in the workforce, and we earn better returns when we invest, but we won’t step up and invest our money to own and grow our own assets.

Why?

Why Women Don't Invest

Plenty of women lack confidence when it comes to money. But I believe it is more than that. I believe it centers on a sense that many women feel they need permission from someone to make those kinds of decisions. Or that showing up as powerful makes us less feminine. Even less desirable.

Is our internalized misogyny whispering to us that we can’t be trusted, that we must rely on men to make those important decisions? Just like every other area where we women have successfully claimed our power, and our seat at the table, the first step is to no longer be our own worst enemy. It’s time we stopped acting out those sexist attitudes toward ourselves and toward other women. Yes, Wall Street has failed us, but in many cases, I believe we’ve failed ourselves. We can claim our power over money, just as we’ve claimed our power in every other area of life.

How?

  • Become educated
  • Understand that investing involves risk and that risk isn’t something to be feared.

Risk is a reality. We don’t take on risk lightly, but we know that nothing worth having comes without risk. So why are we so afraid to take risks when it comes to investing?

What’s interesting is how we women can be so fearless when it comes to relationship risks, but averse when it comes to investing. Of course, don’t expose yourself to catastrophic financial risk, but it’s just as foolish to keep all your assets in cash. Figure out how much you can afford to invest and look for investments that match your risk tolerance. (For related reading, see: What Is Your Risk Tolerance?)

Not sure how? Look for a financial advisor to guide you. Not ready? Seek out women who inspire you to trust yourself. Give yourself permission to take the first small steps. I promise there are great personal and financial rewards waiting for you.

No one else can do it for you. What are you waiting for?

(For more from this author, see: Do You Want to Pay Less for College?)