Blog Feature

Women Who Count
The Language and Power of Wealth Management for the Female Executive

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Christine Cote is a First Vice President of Investments at UBS Financial Services.She has partnered with UC Davis Executive Education to launch our Women Who Count Custom Programs. Click here to learn more.

You likely already know that women own and control 51.3% of the personal wealth in the United States and 40% of all privately held US firms.  Women comprise the majority of college graduates and the majority of newly minted doctors and lawyers.  Women make or influence most of the household investment and purchasing decisions.  In fact, in many households today, women commonly outearn their male counterparts.  So… we’ve made it!  Right?  Women are right up there with the men in terms of our financial savvy and decision making abilities, aren’t we? 

Not even close.  As a 30-year veteran financial advisor to individuals and companies around the country, I know firsthand that most women’s financial knowledge, confidence and sophistication still lag far behind our male counterparts.  I also know that for reasons that we can only speculate, women still have yet to take the same truly active and powerful decision-making role in the financial world as do men.

While women often are ‘involved’ in the decision-making role, we find that they often take a more passive role to their male partner.  We also find that they lack the same language tools that men do.

For example, if you are woman reading this right now, ask yourself, “When was the last time I discussed the earnings reports of companies that I follow with one of my friends?”  OR “When was the last time I got together with a friend for drinks and talked about how we and some friends could get some capital together to buy up some apartment buildings (or start a venture capital pool or maybe an investment opportunity your advisor recommended)?” OR “Do I know how to use balance sheet financing to leverage your personal net worth?” OR (If you work for a public company) “Do I know how my company stock plan works?”

Have you have worried about becoming a bag lady?  Many women often worry about this.  Men never do.

I know this not only because I am a woman working with men in the financial services world, but because I am a woman who has made some of the same mistakes that many women make.  I assumed that I did not need to be proactively ‘aggressive’ about managing my financial affairs.  I somehow thought that if I just saved aggressively (thankfully), that somehow I would be ‘okay’.

I rarely, if ever, talked with my women friends about money.  It’s not ‘nice’.  I try to downplay any successes I’ve had.  I worried that, first, I wouldn’t attract a and people wouldn’t like me if I was too successful. 

Men have no such qualms.  Men enjoy talking about financial matters.  They compete over successes.  They want to talk about business opportunities.  They start early.  They start competing in middle and high school and keep going from there.  They know they will be admired for their successes  Women know they may not be admired for those same successes and that they may end up with no mate at all if they are ‘too successful’. 

All these subtle and not so subtle social and cultural cues have stood in the way of women truly gaining the financial savvy that their male peers take for granted. This is true even though studies show that knowledgeable women investors are generally better long-term investors than men!

It’s time to learn the language, start the conversation, and get talking—with your partner, with your peers, with your financial advisor, and with your friends. It’s time to take control of your financial future. Join us and learn more about Women Who Count.

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