Growing up, my parents had two very distinct money manifestos. While my dad was focused on the long-term, it was my mum who was in charge of paying the bills, buying the groceries and balancing the family budget from week to week.
I can still see my mum sitting at the kitchen bench with a calculator in one hand and a pen in the other. The bench covered in bank statements and credit card bills, as well as a pile of cash, weighed down by a Tupperware container in which she hid it.
I don’t think my experience is all that unusual. Back in the day, being smart with money meant knowing how to stretch the family dollar. Many women were raised to believe that their husbands would be responsible for investing and long-term saving.
That’s not to say that this is still the norm. I think women, especially Millennial women are increasingly taking control of their financial futures. However, it’s an uphill battle with an industry that has long catered to men.
Finance is a male dominated industry
Check any news site or television finance segment and you’ll see that the people writing or talking about finance are pretty much middle-aged white men who look like (or are) David Koch. The finance industry thrives on the use of jargon and acronyms which do more to exclude, rather than include.
Because the financial services industry is dominated by men (only one in five financial advisors in Australia is female) women are not getting their needs met when they seek advice or try to learn about money.
How can we make finance more female friendly?
Women want jargon-free communication, a high level of interaction and the presentation of a range of alternative strategies and products when they seek financial advice.
Things are changing
In the last few months two of my friends have purchased shares for the very first time, and I couldn’t be more delighted for them. The fact that this blog even exists (and you lovely people read it) means times are changing. The financial services industry and the way it communicates just needs to catch up.