We must “level the investment playing field” for women: CoreLogic CFO

Alison Banney 2 May 2019 NEWS

Woman sitting in home office working on laptop. Image: Getty ImagesA quarter of women believe investment information and advice is too intimidating and geared towards men.

According to a white paper report by Fidelity International, more than half of women say that investing is too complicated, and a quarter believe that the information around investing is intimidating and tailored towards men. This is resulting in a lot of women not investing outside of traditional assets like superannuation and property.

CFO at CoreLogic Australia and New Zealand Lisa Jennings says that women respond to language differently than men, and that because a lot of women don't resonate with the current language and information on investing, many aren't investing at all.

"The right questions to ask is how do we level the investment playing field for women so they can access financial literacy and embrace active investing," said Jennings. "Investment providers need to consider how to tailor access to investment information and advice for the female market and the demographic groups within this. More work needs to be done on the style and structure of information to make it more transparent, easy to understand and communicated in a way which is relevant to women."

Finder has previously spoken with head of advice at Stockspot Sarah King on the topic of investment language. King also said that the language in the industry was more tailored towards men, saying: "Women connect and relate differently to concepts of wealth creation and financial independence. They don't respond as much to technical, highly-complex, analytical language. I believe most women want to hear the practicalities, how it will benefit them, how to start and the pros and the cons so they can make an informed, considered choice."

Jennings said that while women were keen property investors, it isn't enough, and women need to be investing directly in the stock market too. "The facts are, on average, Australian women outlive Australian men. They are more likely than men to have careers interrupted by parental and carer needs, face the handicap of the gender pay gap and, sadly, one in two women is likely to suffer financially through divorce. Women need to understand investment to ensure they have a secure financial future, no matter what life experience they encounter."

One key thing that is holding a lot of women back from investing in the stock market is the belief that they don't have enough money to invest. But this is often not true, and the fact that women are waiting to invest means they're sacrificing potential compound interest.

"The value of compound interest and long term investment returns on the stock market are things more women need to understand," said Jennings. "And in a period of historically low interest rates, women need to be encouraged to think twice about parking savings in a typical bank account and place it where it will get a much better return."

"To get started, understand your monthly income streams and determine your fixed outgoings, which should leave your disposable income and how much to secure in savings, super and emergency funds, and then what you have to invest. As a priority, always pay off where you can existing high-interest debt such as credit cards and high-interest loans to reduce the high interest that can be avoided."

If you're keen to get started in the share market, take a look at our seven-step guide to buying shares online.

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