Breaking the Cycle: Overcoming Early Messaging to Empower Women's Financial Futures
As women, our early experiences with money can profoundly impact our financial trajectory. Unfortunately, despite significant progress in women's empowerment, many of us still struggle with internalized messages around money, finance, and power. These messages can make us feel passive or avoidant when it comes to taking action on our financial lives. However, it's never too late to take ownership of our financial futures and build financial confidence.
The Impact of Early Messaging on Future Performance
Despite the significant progress women have made in achieving positions of power across various roles, a majority of women (over 50 percent1) still relinquish investment decisions to their spouses when it comes to matters concerning their overall financial situation. Additionally, only 28 percent of women make it their priority to increase their wealth, while a staggering 75 percent worry about their retirement.2
From a broader economic perspective, female-founded startups are still struggling to secure funding. TechCrunch3 reports that a meager 1.9 percent of these startups receive venture capital funding. Similarly, Harvard Business Review4 highlights that only 15 percent of venture capitalists, who are responsible for funding startups, are female. At home and at company helm, women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to capital and empowerment to make important decisions.
4 Ways to Reclaim Financial Confidence
Despite these stark realities that reflect early messaging and systemic challenges, there are still several steps women can take to rebuild their confidence and financial literacy is the first place to begin
Challenge Old Money Beliefs: Many women struggle to overcome early messages that discourage them from managing their wealth, leading to a lack of financial confidence. This challenge may be compounded by systemic obstacles, particularly for women of color. However, by acknowledging the cultural and generational factors that contribute to these messages, women can take the first step towards reclaiming their personal power and regaining their financial confidence. By challenging their beliefs about their ability to manage, learn, and grow their wealth, women can overcome these obstacles and achieve financial literacy.
Build Confidence with Basic Planning: To truly take control of their financial future, women must go beyond self-awareness and dive into the numbers. This means focusing on core pillars such as budgeting and future planning. Without a solid plan in place, it can be overwhelming to navigate the uncertain waters of the economy. By taking charge of their monthly and annual expenses, women can build the confidence to save and invest in their future. In fact, a staggering 92% of women recognize the power of long-term financial planning in achieving their goals5.
Take Ownership of Financial Goals: Taking action is key to achieving financial success. A 2022 study6 conducted by Bank of America on women's financial wellness found that while 48 percent of women feel confident about their finances, only 28 percent feel empowered to take action. This hesitation often leads to the biggest regret of not saving or investing sooner. Many women find the daily management of money less daunting but when it comes to longer-term saving or investing, there’s often a lot of fear. The key is to take ownership of the goals you set and then focus on ways you can build more discipline into your everyday habits to achieve them.
Remember That Your Impact Matters: The COVID pandemic left many people grappling with work and wondering how to make better use of the resources they have. Women found themselves wanting to make more intentional choices, indicated UBS’s 2020 study. In fact, 94% of women gave financial resources or time during the height of the pandemic.7 Women play a crucial role in not only their families' financial well-being but also in their communities and workplaces.
In conclusion, achieving financial empowerment starts with women challenging and overcoming outdated beliefs and misconceptions about money. By developing confidence through basic financial planning, taking ownership of our financial goals, and recognizing the impact of our financial decisions, we can shape our own financial futures and those of our communities. Let us work towards a future where women are fully empowered to take control of their finances and thrive.
1 UBS “Own Your Worth Report,” 2020 (Referral Link)
2 BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey, 2022 (Source Link)
3 “Women-founded startups raised 1.9% of all VC funds…”, TechCrunch, 2023 (Source Link)
4 “For Female Founders, Fundraising Only from Female VCs Comes at a Cost,” Harvard Business Review, 2023 (Source Link)
5 ”Fearless Woman: Financial Participation and Stock Market Participation,” Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, 2021 (Source Link)
6 Women, Money and Confidence: A Lifelong Relationship, Bank of America, 2022 (Source Link)
7 UBS “Own Your Worth Report,” 2020 (Referral Link)