The adage is true: money makes the world go round. Our lives are centered around finance and yet there is such little education about it and confidence in managing it, especially among women.
After all, Finance is numbers. I find that women are socially, not inherently, conditioned, consciously or not, to stray away from quantitative fields.
An article by the American Psychological Association, supports my suspicion stating that there is virtually no difference between the cognitive, verbal or mathematical i.e. qualitative or quantitative, skills possessed by either sex (and presumably, any gender). Yet, we still see a gap in the number of men and women in quantitative fields.
Even when I changed my major to a Bachelors of Science in Economics at The University of Texas at Dallas, I was hesitant. Was I competent or competitive enough to succeed in a business career should I choose to pursue it? Was I too nice, too naïve, and maybe even too feminine for such a masculine world?
As I began to volunteer with FinMango- a financial literacy non profit- and spoke with women pioneers in the financial services industry, I realized how wrong I had been. In my research, I discovered “Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment” by Brad M. Barber and Terrance Odean through a Forbes article “Why Women are Better at Investing.” The paper concludes that while men are more aggressive traders, women gain more returns from investments. The gap between what we can do and what we believe we can do touched my heart.
In my blog “Cultivating Potential to Cultivate Potential” for FinMango, I referenced an article by The Economist that stated that women were expected to control $72 trillion of the world’s wealth by 2020. Yet, at the same time, I became acutely aware of the gap in financial literacy for women.
I used to see finance as a world of men in suits- ruthless and competitive. And when I began to learn about it, most resources were filled with complex ideas like index funds, the S& P 500, and diversified portfolios that I couldn’t then understand. The jargon of it would be enough to dissuade anyone from proceeding let alone groups that are conditioned to believe that finance is not a place they belong.
While the meanings of these words did not escape me for long, I also realized that that is not all that finance or financial literacy is.
It is about relationships with people, setting yourself up for success, and empowering others to do the same. It is about stability, discipline, organization, and simultaneous personal growth.
So… after much thought, I decided to use social media to my benefit.
I will be devoting a space to share credible and easy to understand resources that I use to enhance my financial literacy. I will be devoting a space to communicate that managing money is not just about fancy words but relevant ideas that can be built upon to better understand the world around you and how you can etch your financial place in it. I will be devoting a space to reassure women in my position that financial literacy and financial confidence also belongs to them.
Money does make the world go round. But, it is only useful if you are able to understand and take control of it.