International Women’s Day: A $$$ Look at Women’s Progress

international-womens-day-2014

Today is the day of women. The day where we — women and men — are all inspired by women’s achievement. It is the day where women across the world are united. It is the day that we are encouraged to move onward and upward. It is the 107th annual International Women’s Day (this year’s theme is “Make It Happen”), when everyone roots for a crack down on the biggest issues for women around the world. The day celebrates our achievement in politics, society and economics. Women create and control an increasing share of wealth and have a powerful economic influence in the home, workforce and community — as business owners, executives, investors, philanthropists, consumers, heads of household, caregivers and role models for the next generation. Here are some stats to make you proud!

1. Brainy female billionaires are on the rise. Forbes’ annual list of billionaires now features 197 women. One of those is an M&V 2015 influencer Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood testing company Theranos.

2. The more women in charge the better! The latest stats provided by Open State of Women-Owned Business reports that over 9 million U.S. businesses are women-owned, generating over $1.4 trillion in revenue and $7.8 million jobs.

3. According to Bespoke Investment, over the past five years women-led companies on the S&P 500 have posted a 19.5 percent stock gain in comparison to the 14.9 percent stock gain by male CEOs.

M&V also spoke to Maggie Villacampa, a U.S. Trust senior vice president and private client advisor, to find out what else women can do to better themselves financially. 

M&V: How have you seen the influence of women evolve in the financial space and what should today’s woman be thinking about as she builds a long-term plan?

VILLACAMPA: Women create and control an increasing share of wealth and have a powerful economic influence in the home, workforce and community. In fact, U.S. Trust recently conducted a Wealth and Worth study that revealed that more than two-thirds of high-net-worth women said that they came into their relationships with as much or more in assets as their partners and just under half are equal or primary income earners in their families. With increasing power, we’re also seeing growing responsibility. Women are playing an increasingly important role in overseeing their extended families’ financial and economic security. The U.S. Trust Wealth and Worth study revealed that sixty-five percent of female executives have provided financial assistance to an adult member of their family, and four in 10 have provided ongoing support. More than a third anticipate their parents or in-laws to rely on them for ongoing financial support or assistance to help meet their expenses and income needs, yet, only 5% have a plan in place to provide ongoing financial assistance to adult family members. Beyond planning for their own retirement, men and women alike should consider how family obligations, like caring for family members and aging parents, fits into their long-term plan.

M&V: As a woman managing her own resources or the resources of her family, what should she take into consideration?

VILLACAMPA: The growing power and responsibility of women in the financial space and their complex situations requires the assistance of someone you can trust. It’s important that you select an advisor that has access to the research and tools to guide you on your journey, but, you must also enjoy working with them. Listen to your gut. Make sure you genuinely like your advisor and ensure he or she really listens to you. You advisor should understand your life priorities and the kind of financial future you want to build, ultimately serving as a partner to help get you there.

M&V: What kinds of financial practices/habits should she have in place now to ensure a financially sound future and legacy? 

VILLACAMPA: If she’s established in her career, she should ensure that she’s maximizing every corporate benefit. From stock options to pensions, there is a tremendous amount of options available to a professional woman. If she owns her own business, she should embark on succession planning as soon as possible. This way, she is working against a clear goal, can project her assets and map out her legacy plan.

Main image is from a 2014 International Women’s Day celebration in Manila, Philippines. 

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