Canadian Women and Investing

1 Aug
Viola David ten dollar Canadian bill
Source: Google Images

Sometime next year, we will see the face of a Canadian woman on our $10 bill for the very first time. Viola Desmond, a black entrepreneur from Nova Scotia is the first woman besides the Queen to be featured on Canadian currency. In the 1930’s and 1940’s Viola Desmond established and ran no fewer than three thriving businesses in the Halifax area: one was a salon, another an academy teaching hair dressing techniques and a third was the manufacture of “Vi’s Beauty Products” for sale in other salons.

As such an enterprising woman, Viola Desmond might be a millionaire today. In fact, one-third of Canada’s millionaires are women, and women control $1.3 trillion dollars of the Canadian economy. It is certainly high time that women are represented on our bank notes and hopefully Viola Desmond is just the first of many to do so.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, women are leading the way. However, when it comes to investing, women face some challenges in growing their assets and providing for financial security.

Although many women participate at least equally in bringing home income to their families, few women feel completely confident in managing investments. Female Baby Boomers and those in Generation X often cite a desire for more confidence in understanding risk and investments. Unlike men, few women ever talk about money and investments with their friends, and we tend to be conservative investors.

To gain more confidence, women need to educate themselves on risk and reward, set up a plan for what they want their money to do as it grows, and seek the advice of a money coach or financial advisor. The reality is that women should save more than men; we will need the income longer in retirement due to our longer life span.

As this Global News article states, while women are reluctant to take man risks, the need for more income in retirement means they should be more aggressive when young. With a longer time horizon, we can afford to chase higher returns (more equity, less fixed income) so that our savings compound faster. Still, there are some signs of change. Millennial women are much more likely to be confident in managing investments and discussing them with their friends and colleagues.

Women as a group have other innate traits that prevent some of them from doing as well as they could with their investments. We tend to put other people’s needs before our own, and I’ve seen women lose out after giving away an inheritance to a partner for his investment or depleting their own retirement savings to help out a child who pressured mom for more dollars. Finding and working with a trusted Financial Advisor can help women make better informed and less emotional decisions for their own financial security.*

Who’s the next Canadian woman to appear on our currency? Maybe a great female teacher of financial literacy!

* For a free no-obligation second opinion on your financial situation and investments, contact me at 416-939-2000 or mheenan@assante.com.