Investing in the stock market successfully is a way to help create long-term financial wellness, yet women are less likely to invest than men. Logica’s Invest Forward study with Commonwealth shows that low and moderate income women are interested in investing, but the pathways to wealth are not established for these groups.
In the past year, the U.S. markets have shown tremendous growth. People are putting more money into the stock market than they were one year ago, according to the most recent wave of our Logica® Future of Money Study. But there’s a catch: it’s mostly men who are boosting their investment activities (23% vs 10% who are investing more) and benefiting from this growth.
Several realities are driving these trends. Research has shown that men are more confident when it comes to investing and are more comfortable with a higher amount of financial risk. Women are participating less, perhaps due in part to the fact that programs, services and marketing outreach don’t really apply to their mindset or situation. Additionally, the unique financial needs of women have historically been misunderstood, and women are underserved in this space, causing a lack of engagement.
At the same time, women’s financial situations have become less stable during the pandemic for women worldwide. These disparities are exacerbated by race and income, as well as gender.
Opportunities exist to start to shift this dynamic among your employees. The pandemic has opened the eyes of corporate leadership around the world to the lives and financial wellness of employees – bringing the reality of employee financial wellness and inequities to the boardroom for many.
Understanding your audiences
For businesses, the first step is acquiring an understanding of the financial wellness needs of all employees, including women and women of color. In order to gain this level of understanding, try taking some of the following steps:
- Ask your employees: Employee listening is critical for identifying ways to help employees. One way to listen to your employees is through employee surveys that are confidential and create trust, demonstrating interest in understanding financial wellness needs and making improvements. Employee research can help you understand employee sentiment and behaviors and to identify financial wellness needs and gaps. These could lead to refinements in programs, such as financial education, budgeting, emergency savings funds, insurance planning, and retirement planning.
- Tap into outside expertise: Partners that specialize in employee research surrounding financial services, fintech, and technology can give you a tailored research solution. Solid insights from all your important audiences, including employees, customers and other stakeholders, can help ensure that you are implementing data-driven programs, providing the best possible support for your employees.
- Understand the greater context: Research that shows where the challenges and opportunities lie when it comes to encouraging women to invest more can aid in understanding the broader employee context. Unfortunately, unconscious bias can be in place when it comes to female investors, such as assuming all women have similar financial needs or that women know less than men about investing. Our study of Black and Latinx women showed that this group is anything but homogenous, with 65% interested in investing but only 32% already investing successfully. Getting a clear view can help you on employee financial wellness needs, and help you tailor advice, communications, products and services that will meet women where they are on their investment journey.
Finding the programs that work for women
How can more women be encouraged to participate in securing their financial futures through investment? After you have a solid foundation in research, data and insights, you can find programs for your employees that connect to financial brands and advisors that prioritize the same things that are important to them.
These could include programs that are inclusive and appealing to women of all races, or employ “women-forward” best practices. Pursue financial industry programs that help companies meet diversity and equity goals. All of these features can work together to provide a confidence booster that will encourage women to take part in investment activities.
An insights-driven foundation for moving the needle on programs, services and education can support improving financial wellness for all employees, including women.