All those years of hard work are paying off for women across America. According to a new Women & Investing Study from Fidelity Investments, close to half of all women now have $20,000 or more in savings. One-third say they are flush with $50,000 or more in cash. That’s money that’s in addition to their retirement nest eggs and emergency funds.
Many savers think they are playing it safe and preserving their windfalls by socking their money away into savings — but when you do this, you’re actually leaving thousands of dollars on the table every year by not investing that money… And that’s to say nothing of the cost of inflation. When the cost of goods and services surpasses the rate of return in a savings account, those same diligent savers actually find themselves losing money.
Not convinced? Fidelity crunched the numbers and the results are pretty eye-opening. A $20,000 investment, conservatively invested over ten years, assuming a 5.07% rate of return, could earn $12,795. That same money in a savings account with a 0.06% rate of return, would earn $120. “Women need to understand what it means to sit on the sidelines in a bank account relative to investing that money,” says Lorna Kapusta, head of women investors and customer engagement at Fidelity Investments. “You want your money to work as hard as you do. The potential cost of not taking action is too much.”
LONGEVITY RISK CALLS FOR INVESTING
With a higher rate of return, you can amass more money for retirement. And that’s something women will need more of than men since we live an average of five years longer than our male counterparts. Longer life spans can also mean higher healthcare costs, but thankfully, the harder your money works for you, the longer it will last in retirement.
DON’T SIT ON THE SIDELINES
So, why are women generally more reluctant investors? A lack of confidence and not enough access are big reasons. There’s also decades of social conditioning wherein we were taught that money discussions were almost taboo. A third of the women Fidelity surveyed do not consider themselves investors. Meanwhile, more than 40% said they were not comfortable with their level of knowledge of investing. These are numbers we have to work toward changing.
“Making our money work harder is something men talk about when they go out for dinner, have drinks. Women have to make it part of the conversation, part of what they do,” says Kapusta. Getting more women off the sidelines and into the stock market requires education and awareness, which in turn builds confidence.
Investing: Let’s Get Real is proudly sponsored by Fidelity Investments. You may have to do more than just keep your money in a savings account if you want to be ready for retirement. Thankfully, you can help make your money work harder with investing. Fidelity can help you find a way to find a way to invest that’s right for you. Click here for action-oriented resources that will help you invest more now.
PUT YOUR MONEY TO WORK
Options abound for women when it comes to investing. There are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, index funds, and alternative investments, just to name a few. There are also different investment approaches from do-it-yourself to working with a financial advisor. Which one makes the most sense depends on your interest level, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. It’s important to note that all solid investment approaches start with setting your goal and the time horizon for when you need the money.
Some investors want to go a DIY route for everything, and do all their own research into their investment choices. But this route can be dangerous if you don’t create a diversified portfolio composed of a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and other short-term investments. When you’re diversified, you cushion the blow if one area of the market goes south. This approach takes time, effort, and discipline, to ensure your investments remain aligned with your goals and time horizon.
Sounds like too much work? A more hands-off, low-cost option is a robo advisory service. This may be best suited for women who are short on time — A robo advisor is a digital tool that selects your investments after you answer a series of questions about your goals, risk tolerance, and ideal time frame. (Also, with a robo advisor, you don’t have to worry about rebalancing your portfolio if it gets out of alignment. The digital tool will do it for you!)
One of the most popular investing options, particularly for women who may be more reluctant investors, is to work with a financial advisor. Advisors are professionals who will work with you one-on-one to help you meet your financial goals. Think of them as part money coach, part life coach. They take into account your overall financial picture, time horizon, and desired level of risk when selecting investments. And if/when life throws you a curveball, your financial advisor can help you adjust your plans.
One of the most dangerous misconceptions some prospective investors have is thinking they can’t afford a financial advisor or they don’t have enough money to invest. The truth is, there’s a financial advisor for everybody, and it doesn’t cost anything to have that initial conversation. “A financial advisor helps you figure out what the best path is for your money,” says Kapusta. “When you do decide to invest, the financial advisor walks you through the costs and the fees. It’s very important to feel comfortable with your options.”
No matter how you choose to invest, the key is to get your money working harder for you, every day. Leaving it all in savings is a choice you simply can’t afford to make.