Studies say that women will soon hold the bulk of personal wealth in Canada, but also that they are dissatisfied with how the financial services industry treats them. Kim Parlee talks with Ingrid Macintosh, Executive Sponsor, TD Wealth for Women, about what needs to be done and how TD Bank is meeting the challenge.
- I am choosing today, as I do every day, to challenge some of the myths around women and money and women and investing. Certainly, we know that there's lots of stereotypical ideas around women and how they interact with money or financial services. And I think we really need to be standing tall and addressing some of those. We know that women are now outlearning, outearning, and outliving men at a pace never before seen, and in a very short order will actually control the majority of wealth in Canada.
However, there's still something in the narrative there where women aren't comfortable, necessarily, talking about money or really diving deeply into their investment futures. And we know that that's actually really a critical component in terms of their long-term financial health and financial wealth. And this is both at the financial level, but also at a societal level.
I'd also comment at the time that you and I are sitting here, Kim, almost a year into COVID, those societal impacts on women relating to the shecession have never been more pronounced. Women have been massively disproportionately impacted by COVID. And I think we really need to do more now in support of women and their future financial health.
Absolutely. And I know that you've brought some statistics to show the state of some of what you were just talking about. And they're pretty startling. Let's take a look at them.
- Yeah. Thanks, Kim. Some of these statistics are really why I get so passionate about our Women and Wealth program and supporting women. I said at the outset, we have about $1.5 trillion in the hands of women today. And over the next five years, that number is going to more than double to well over $3 trillion, and in fact be the dominant share of wallet in Canada.
However, 2/3 of women in those pre-retirement ages between 45 and 55? They don't have a financial plan. And half of single women aren't even working with an advisor. And you think, well, that's something that we could sort of step up and try to solve for. But there's still some underlying elements in there about women and money. And we know that 87% of women are saying they're struggling to find an advisor with whom they can connect. Unfortunately, we also know that advisors are probably twice as likely to reach out to a man. So lots of work for us to be doing in supporting women, but also as an organization.
You talk about some of the underlying elements that can influence some of these numbers, and I know some of that is just norms. Just family norms, cultural norms. And I know you-- you and I have talked a lot-- and you've got this story which always surprises me. But tell us your story.
- Yeah. It's a little bit about me and a little bit about the background, right? So I myself have been working in financial services for over 30 years. My mother, I'd say, was a pioneer in the industry. She was an actuary, which meant she told big companies how to manage their money and their retirement plans, yet she never saved a penny and did not have a strong financial background. Myself, again, I spent lots of time talking to companies. Yet in my own household, I abdicated the responsibility for our family's investments to my husband, who is a very smart businessman but a geologist by training.
So, really, when one looked at that narrative, you would say, maybe, I should have been stepping up a little bit more. But this really speaks to that undertone of a bias that I think we have as women. We don't step up to the table and say let me take the reins on that, or let me spend more time learning. In fact, we often get caught up in these myths, right? This myth of, I don't have enough time. Particularly in the child-rearing years where other things are taking our attention. We don't have enough money. I don't have enough money yet to really be worthy of an advice conversation or to be talking to someone about money.
And then the last piece of it is, I don't have enough knowledge. I don't know so I don't want to embarrass myself. We as women love that sense of community and strength. We don't want to rock the boat a little bit. But we need to start challenging some of these myths.
And if we take it back even further, it's not polite to talk about money. That's not a woman's place. So, again, I choose to challenge some of those legacy myths on behalf of women and doing better with their money.
I think one of the things you mentioned in here, too, and I think might be driven by, we'll say, behavioral norms and also just some biases that exist. And I know you've done some work in the behavioral finance world. And there's some really interesting things there that really we can support, I'd say, women in their finances.
- Absolutely. So we at TD have spent a lot of time on the behavioral finance side. And specifically we looked at some of the differences around key personality traits between men and women. And when we start to explore that a little bit, it's actually really good news in there, right? So there's certain traits that will set people up well for success. One is conscientiousness, right? So women are much more likely to be conscientious, which means if they set a plan, they're likely to stick to the plan, which bodes really well for a woman in an advised relationship.
But I'd also say that at a higher level, from our behavioral perspective, women think in terms of goals and dreams, not stocks and bonds and returns and benchmarks. So I think this is where both understanding how our clients might respond to moments in the market and really being adept at that, also understanding the language around how women think about money and how they think about investing, is critically important. And that's why we put so much energy with the Women and Wealth program also in terms of looking internally, supporting our advisors through training, et cetera.
Talk to me a bit more about some of those things you're doing. Because you mentioned about some of the advisor training, but I know there's a whole bunch of other strategies you're working on as well.
- Absolutely. So, let's talk first about the advisors. So often when you and I talk about this, I pound the table and I ask women to stand taller with respect to taking the time to build their knowledge, which will build their confidence, which will build their engagement, and get them on the better path. But I think we as an industry have really had to take a very hard look at ourselves and say, what are we doing or what have we been doing that has not been in the service of women? So I come back to that. The language that we use with women versus men. The language that we speak about with respect to investing, making that a much more comfortable conversation.
So that's not something where we can stand tall as the enterprise that stands for financial confidence and say, women, do better. Be more confident. We have to change the way we operate. So, at TD that includes advisor training programs to reframe the narrative. Supporting those programs with behavioral finance and understanding the differences between be it men and women or any number of elements that may trigger somebody's response in the markets. You know, you really think about long-term success in investing, it isn't about the details of understanding balance sheets and stocks and bonds. It's about starting early and staying committed and making decisions and building a plan. And all those are the sorts of things that we really need our advisors to support women with.
A third is really around the complexion of our business, because we need more female advisors and we need more senior women operating in financial services, because that's how we truly start to move the conversation. We need a colleague population that looks like our customer population in all facets of segmentation and diversification. And only then can we actually say that we're standing tall and delivering on financial confidence for all.
Ingrid, thanks very much.
- Thanks, Kim.