Women are less confident when it comes to investing, a study finds

By Deka Wiebusch
For The Bellingham Business Journal

Women throughout the last hundred years have increasingly engaged in tasks that in the past were predominately male driven.

One area where women seem to have stayed away is investing. Unlike the day-to-day finances of budgets and bills, investing is focused more on the future.

Whether it’s saving for retirement, college, or possibly a large purchase, it seems women tend to be less hands on.  While there is nothing wrong with letting your partner help or even oversee any aspect of day-to-day life, the biggest concern is that 90 percent of women will at some point have to manage their finances and investments on their own due to being single, divorced or widowed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A study in 2014 found that while 82 percent of women are confident managing their day-to-day budgeting, their confidence slips when it comes to longer term financial planning.

Furthermore, they found that only 37 percent of women feel confident planning for retirement financial needs and only 28 percent are confident in selecting the correct financial investments, according to a study by the research, design and marketing company Kelton conducted on behalf of Fidelity Investments.

Making sure that women are more involved in financial planning is even more important today as women are becoming a larger portion of the workforce.

The Department of Labor statistics show that 57 percent of women were in the workforce in 2016 compared to just 46 percent in 1995.  This means that women will need to be more engaged making sure they are taking full advantage of their retirement benefits through work to secure their financial future.

Some obstacles holding women back from being more engaged is that they believe it’s not the right stage in life for them to be investing or they don’t have enough money. Or simply, they don’t have enough time to dedicate to it.

Investing can seem overwhelming when trying to look at the big picture but don’t take on too much at once.  I would encourage you to dedicate just one hour annually to meet with a financial professional.

One of the most basic financial planning concepts is the power of investing early and consistently throughout your lifetime.  This can lead to real wealth accumulation but it is impossible to achieve without taking the first steps to set goals and put them into action.

Most women wouldn’t try to navigate complex health issues without the help of a medical professional.  Likewise, seeking an investment professional can help with understanding the basics of investing to get you started.  Women, let’s take a step forward and secure our financial future.

Deka Wiebusch, AIF, is a financial advisor at Skyline Advisors, a local Registered Investment Advisor. Its office is located at 405 32nd St., Suite 201, Bellingham. 

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