5 Facts That You Need To Know About Women and Wealth

By Kara I. Stevens


Earlier this month, I attended a Morgan Stanley workshop called, “Women and Wealth” to increase my financial acumen and because, as you know, personal finance and empowerment are passions of mine.

Headed by the Urban Girl Squad, the workshop covered the basics as it relates to savings, money management, and retirement. Their message, like any personal finance blogger, a good friend, or financial adviser with a lick of sense would tell you, was clear: Start saving early; live within your means; ask questions when you do not know.

What is less talked about or conventionally understood in deep way, however, is the amount of financial responsibility women will encounter throughout the course of their lives. Financial responsibility does not always translate into financial power because of entrenched systemic discrimination on one part and our reluctance, as a group, to inform and empower ourselves in the ways of finances.

But workshops like these try to educate and inspire women to action by giving the raw data on their financial power globally and in the household.

Here are five facts about women’s contribution to wealth creation, household finances, and global economic influence, including some of our successes and some of our challenges:

1.      Women control nearly one-third of all investable assets worldwide. (Corporate Executive Board. VIP Forum. Understanding the High-Net-Worth Women Segment 2010)

2.      $2.8 Trillion is the total direct, indirect, and induced economic impact of majority women-owned businesses in the US in 2008, equaling 16% of U.S. jobs (National Women’s Business Council Fact Sheet, January 2010).

3.      Full-time working women earn just 79.9% of what a man earns according to the US Department of Labor (2009)

4.      On average, women spend 15% of their career out of the workforce to care for children or parents (National Association of State Treasurers Foundation, “Tomorrow’s Money”, 2011)

5.      As household decision makers, women decide on 92% of all vacations, write over 80% of all personal checks, make 80% of all home improvement decisions, and determine over 89% of new bank relationships. (Women’s Rising Power in Travel Decisions, hotmule.com, July 2010)

For those of us that still think that handling money is a man’s job, here are the statistics and reality to tell you differently!

About the Author, Kara I. Stevens
Kara I. Stevens is super stoked to be a member of the NYULYP Communications Committee. By day, she is an educational administrator. By night, she attends to her blog, FabulousNFrugal, an online home for “financial empowerment, mindful spending, and juicy living.”


4 thoughts on “5 Facts That You Need To Know About Women and Wealth

  1. Were there any specific tips on how to be “fabulous and frugal” while living in New York City? I save and try to live within my means, but personally I’m not very optimistic about my future home ownership prospects in this town 😦

    1. Hey Kwanza,
      While there were not any specific ways to live “fabulous and frugal” in NYC, I think one of the first steps I would take is to track what I am spending my money on on a weekly basis. If that is too hard, figure out how much you are spending on a workday and during the weekend, where there are more opportunities to spend.

      Another idea is backwards planning:identify how much money you want to save in a particular amount of time (years) and then work backwards to figure out that means in biweekly saving goals.

      Since the home ownership is broad, it is important to be clear about what you exactly what (house, townhouse, condo, etc) and where (Bronx, Queens, New Rochelle).

      Being realistic about your timeline for home ownership may ally some of the anxiety that I am sensing. Maybe you don’t need to own right away.

      I could go on and on, but one more thing: what exactly do you like to do in NYC? Write down 10 things that you love to do in NYC and put a price to it. There are always discount tickets for plays and events (smarttix.com) free museums days, (Free NYC Museums / nycgo.com) and meetup.com where you can find fun on the cheap.

  2. First off, great post Kara. This is very stimulating and necessary at the same time. It’s one thing to talk about wealth and finances pertaining to minorities but it’s another to focus on women and their overall contribution. That’s been heavily overlooked in the past.

    Secondly, I believe people can live a very “fabulous” life in NYC. You just need to be smart and informed with the right information. Even in NYC there are ways to reduce cost from everything ranging from groceries to hair grease.

    What have you found to be most difficult part in regards to saving? Do you honestly know where your money is going after rent/mortgage etc? Think long and hard before answering……..:-)

    1. Thank you so much, CWR!

      “Even in NYC there are ways to reduce cost from everything ranging from groceries to hair grease.” I love this line! I completely agree.

      There is definitely a lot of planning, patience, cost-benefit analysis, and DIY that comes into being fabulous n’ frugal.

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