I like to think I’m equal, but if I look at the facts, I see that I’m not. I am a woman. At this time in the world women are still not equal to men. We do not hold the reins of power as they do, we do not control the Earth’s resources as they do, we do not have as much money as they do. But that’s changing. In a first for our gender, in the next few years Baby Boomer women are about to gain control of the lion’s share of our generation’s assets. We are accruing the financial power to influence how the Earth’s resources are exploited, how the social safety net is designed, and what kind of economy we want to have. What will we do with our power? Will we follow the path of men into predatory capitalism, gaming financial systems and pushing the cost of profits onto the poor? Or will we find a new path toward balance between people and profits, cooperation among tribes, and systems that promote human wellbeing. Our money, our choice.
In July, the consulting firm McKinsey reported that as Boomer men die “An unprecedented amount of assets will shift into the hands of U.S. women over the next 3 to 5 years, representing a $30 trillion opportunity by the end of the decade.” Notice how they use the word “opportunity” to describe the situation, because ironically, they’re talking about men’s opportunity, not women’s. But make no mistake, this windfall is our opportunity to influence the course of civilization by making different choices. We can seek balance between the competition that fosters diversity and the safety net that ensures stability. The world does not have to churn chaotically between uncontrolled growth and collapse. Women are better managers than men. Now we have the resources to be the change we seek.
Here’s another sentence from the report, “To succeed, firms will need to deeply understand women’s differentiated needs, preferences, and behaviors.” The implication being that men do not already possess this understanding. Subsequent paragraphs describe capturing the business of older women as if we are sitting ducks, explaining how we want financial advice because we have lower financial self-confidence, less risk tolerance and a greater focus on real life goals. I hope so. Men are not my role models for risk assessment and return on investment precisely because they are over-confident risk takers with a lack of focus on real life goals. What good is a soaring stock market if the planet is destroyed?
This week on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, I dream of a global economy managed by women. My idea of a trusted financial advisor is a woman who has had firsthand experience in the FOUR D’s — Divorce, Disinterest, Disease and Death — a woman who can talk about her real lived experience, not the games she plays, a woman I can relate to, a woman who will not speak to me in a condescending tone because she’s seen life’s uncertainty with her own eyes. One of the most important steps women can take toward equality is to actively manage our own assets to align our investments with our values and make our real life goals a reality. Now is our time. The world needs the leadership of women.
~ : ~
McKinsey & Co. Report: Women as the next wave of growth in US wealth management, July 29, 2020