Dear 2021 - Emil
None of us expected 2020 to play out the way it did.
We were forced to deal with a turbulence of personal, social, and political causes. But one thing I’ll take to heart and that I am grateful for from last year are the lessons that came along with it. What I hope to see a change within 2021 might seem trivial when compared to everything else, but it is definitely one step in the right direction.
We are at a day and age where women are coming to the forefront, slowly but surely. The number of women in leadership, decision making, and management positions are better than it was before (slightly). This has resulted in women controlling 32% of the global wealth. However, when we zoom into their lives, it is a different story entirely.
Women are still behind the times when it comes to taking control of their big picture financial decisions – this may be due to deep-rooted gender roles, lack of education/opportunity, lack of time or interest or confidence, etc. Let me solidify this statement with a study conducted by UBS on Americans which stated that half of the married women and 54% of millennial married women depend on their husbands for long-term financial planning. This is happening in a ‘developed’ country like America. Now, take a moment to imagine what the numbers look like in developing countries.
Generally, women are more prone to take care of day-to-day finances and budgeting but the bigger financial decision regarding investment and long-term planning are deferred to men. There is a similar pattern among even the most highly educated women. Research says that 8 in 10 women, at some point in their life, end up alone and solely dependent on themselves financially, due to growing trends like their higher life expectancy and gray divorce. Money is often used as a weapon in relationships too. All of this calls for a reformation.
Why are women hesitating and holding back?
It is definitely not incompetency. In fact, a study conducted by Warwick’s Business school which tracked investors’ performance for three years found that women are better investors than men. The annual returns of women outperform men by 1.8 percent. They tend to have a long-term fact-based perspective and are more diligent and agile in changing markets.
The reasons range from societal to institutional. Traditional gender roles still persist and men in the family are often seen as the final authority that decides money matters. Women juggle a lot of responsibilities, especially now, due to the disproportionate impact of the covid-19 situation – so, financial independence almost takes a back seat. It has come to a point wherein in some situations, money is often used as a weapon in relationships which further boils to economic abuse.
Financial education and literacy are the answer and children (irrespective of gender) should be taught about savings and financial compounding which will later translate into investment decisions. Money and finances should be communicated and discussed and spoken about from a young age.
The future is promising. With a growing amount of the global wealth controlled by women, many have started giving importance to their finances. Millennials and younger women are more financially literate and taking charge of their financial decisions which have shown to translate into greater confidence and empowerment.
So Dear 2021, I will be looking into investing and managing my wealth this year. I want to see this thought process reflected globally and more women taking control of their finances. Cheers to a good year.
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