This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “break the bias.” A new survey from TD Wealth shows there are many assumptions about women and their finances that can be dispelled. Ingrid Macintosh, Vice President, TD Wealth and Executive Sponsor of TD’s Women and Wealth initiative, joins Kim Parlee to discuss some ways women can take greater control over their financial future.
- International Women's Day is coming. And this year's theme is Breaking the Bias. There's a brand-new survey out by TD which is showing that there are, indeed, a whole lot of biases and myths about women and their finances that need to be broken and everything we need to do to help level that playing field financially.
Ingrid Macintosh is vice president at TD Wealth and also head of TD's Women and Wealth Initiative. She joins us now. Ingrid, always great to have you with us. Let's get right to the survey because some of these results, didn't love, didn't make me feel very happy about some of them. But I know you got some good numbers here. So the first question was around whether women were less likely to say whether they had a financial goal or plan versus men. What did we hear?
- Yeah, well, let's say that that's a pretty open-ended question, Kim. The survey suggested that, not surprisingly, fewer women would say they have a financial goal, their plan. 75% compared to 83% for men. And, I mean, that's actually a good news story, right? Lots of people say they have a goal or plan.
But when we go a little bit deeper into some of the research that we've done, a shocking 60% of women in that 45% to 55% or 45- to 55-year age period don't have a written financial plan. And those are pretty critical pre-retirement years. So if you don't have that plan documented, you're not really setting yourself up for terrific success going forward. So that one is really putting women again at a disadvantage. And that number is probably 50% higher than it would be for men.
- So what do you do about it?
- Well, it's time to get engaged, right? You got to get in touch with a planner or advisor. We know that 3/4 of women say they want to know more. They want to do more. They want to get more involved. But we also know the studies show that an advisor is twice as likely to reach out to a man. So women, we need to engage. We need to be part of that conversation.
- All right, the second one in the survey. And I'll bring it up here about women are far less likely to trade stocks. I think we saw that if they're asked, they're currently trading or investing in the stock market. Men 64%, women 43%.
INGRID MACINTOSH: Yeah, so 50% more men are saying that they're doing that. So that's telling you one or two things. It's telling me that more men are engaged investing generally and investing generally. Or maybe women are engaged in investing and saving, but they're doing so in very low-risk investments like GICs. And either way in the long run, that's not going to help them reach their financial goals.
We asked another question. We said are you more likely or more comfortable with do-it-yourself trading? So we took the question one step further. And here, almost twice as many men said that they were more comfortable with DIY investing. So this is signaling something else to me here, and it's about confidence, right?
Are women saying that they're less knowledgeable, less confident when it comes to getting involved and getting trading on a DIY platform? Truth is women are educated. They should feel confident. If we look at the education continuum, more than half of the undergrad degrees and master's degrees in Canada are held by women. So certainly, we can do this. We just haven't gotten engaged in that. So I think there's something else to look at here. And it speaks again to women needing to get engaged.
- And so how does that happen, right? I mean, I think it's a great-- when you say that all these new highly educated women, what's going to cause that to happen?
- I'm not saying go and start trading stocks if you're not comfortable in doing it. But the world of online trading or do-it-yourself investing is so vast now. There are so many do-it-yourself solutions readily packaged investing solutions for investors. And there's also reams of information out there-- training on DIY platforms, lots of ways that women can build their knowledge. And, of course, knowledge is confidence. And confidence means engagement. And then you're off to the races.
- Third one here, and this one is fascinating to me about who makes the financial decisions in the household. The question was who makes the financial investing decisions in the household? The answer is that women are saying they often share the decision-making. Men report that they are the sole decision-maker in the household. I'd love to know if that's the same household. But anyway, so--
INGRID MACINTOSH: That's what I was thinking.
KIM PARLEE: --as well.
INGRID MACINTOSH: Yeah, I'm a data junkie, and those numbers just didn't add up. So people just are not talking about it. And you often wonder too when you get a question like that, when people think about the financial decisions or the investing decisions, are they referring to who's taking care of the day to day bill payment? Or are they thinking about who's making the decisions around major investments? Or are they truly talking about that saving and investing conversation and how they're collectively planning for their future?
So yes, men are saying that they have more control or more of the reins on that. But I have to say the numbers are getting better. There are longitudinal studies that have looked at this very question. And compared with five years ago, 30% more married women are making financial decisions. So that's a great news story.
This one keeps me awake a little bit at night because, again, it speaks to women being engaged in the conversation in their family. The tides are turning. More than a third of women in Canada now are the primary breadwinners in their household. So that's great. So for sure, they should have a bigger voice in those decisions.
But we also know that at some point, 90% of women are going to have to be that sole decision-maker around finances around investing around their financial future. So whether it's today or tomorrow, women need to get into that conversation again. And we speak about breaking the bias. Again, get engaged, be part of the conversation, build that stakeholder role in your household financial decision-making.
- Yeah, just start. That's part of it. And one-- second to last question here is that women are more concerned about inflation and market these days. We saw that when it comes to personal finances, how concerned are you? Women, 70%, more concerned with market fluctuations. Men, 64%. Cost of living. Women 87%. It seems more concerned. Men are 81%. What we're seeing here is maybe not doing it, but it is top of mind.
INGRID MACINTOSH: It's top of mind for men and women and not surprisingly given this extraordinary period that we are coming in. But why are women more concerned? This isn't just about women being emotional, right? We know-- and you and I have talked about this. Can women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic?
They faced the brunt of the job losses. They took big financial hits. And where they were working if they were still working, they were working from home. They were probably taking on a lot more of that work in the homestead, as well, trying to manage kids and run a household.
So there is so much that is, I think, heightening women's sensitivity and making us a little bit more vulnerable. So what would we say to women about this? Whether it's a pandemic, whether it's a European crisis, whether it's massive market volatility, life is going to throw curveballs at you.
So this concept around being planful, being mindful, being engaged and confident, having emergency funds, having a financial plan that allows you to think about how you're going to navigate that, all critically important for how we weather the storm, men or women.
- Final thoughts. I was just going to say, I mean, there's a lot of really good insight you have here in terms of what's in there. So what has to be done to really level the playing field?
- I think on International Women's Day, there's always this conversation around we have so far to go. But let's be optimistic here. We have made monumental strides towards equality, particularly in the past decade in terms of education, earning power, et cetera. But we still do need to challenge those long-standing myths around women and money. And we need to-- we, women, we need to take an important role there.
It is in our homes. We need to engage. Whether that's education or working with an advisor, we need to build our own confidence. And ultimately, we have to own our own future. So that is my call out to all the women out there on this Break the Bias, International Women's Day. It's up to us.
- Ingrid, thank you.
- Thank you, Kim.