Guest writer for Mint Asset Management is Aga Krzeczkowska. Aga is a Senior Financial Adviser with 13 years of experience managing clients’ investments and portfolios.
The Covid pandemic gave us time to rethink a lot of things, prompting us to do a proper review of where we are in life, where we want to be, and what we value. Some topics that gained importance are happiness in a work environment and mental wellbeing, and rightly so. One massive shift we have already seen is greater flexibility in how we work but also where we work and whether we actually enjoy our careers – a very different perspective from a traditional focus on ‘which job will pay me the most and I don’t care about the rest’ mentality.
Now onto the topic of money – the focus has shifted, something has changed – and not only because of Covid; the high levels of inflation not seen for years have definitely prompted a lot of us to rethink our finances, spending, debt, and the role money plays in our life. A survey from Fidelity Investment released in 2021 found that of 1,200 American women, 50% said they were more interested in investing their money and 42% said they now have more to invest since the start of the pandemic.
When it comes to women and finance, Covid has hit women and their finances harder and the gender pay gap has only widened. We know that women amongst other minorities still, on average, earn less than their male counterparts, and that pay gap difference is often even wider for women from ethnic minorities. Stats NZ reported in 2021, that Women are still paid 9.1% less, on average, than men. For every $1.00 a Pākehā man earns, a Pāhekā woman earns $0.89, an Asian woman earns $0.83, a Māori woman earns $0.81 and a Pasifika woman earns $0.75.
In addition, traditional society rules result in women being worse off financially over the long-term too - women spend more time caring for others and take time out of paid work. When they do come back into the workforce, they do it on a part-time or flexible basis to allow them to continue to care for their families meaning lower earnings and lower pension contributions or capacity to save. Women’s pensions tend to be smaller than men’s and yet women live for longer, all of that is only exacerbating the existing pay gaps.
So now, more than ever, it is important we start talking about money. Not because it is a measure of success but because money can give us freedom, empowerment, and security.
Money is still a taboo topic, a source of shame and stress for some, whereas it should be a source of freedom and strength so the best first step would be to simply start a conversation - if you are looking for some cool money-related conversation starters have a look at the recent campaign run by the Financial Services Council NZ, Money Talks.
So, start a conversation with your friends. Ask questions like:
There are no wrong answers, nobody is perfect, and knowing that others are experiencing the same challenges can be quite comforting.
Now, I have to say these questions may sound pretty confrontational the first time you ask them. On the other hand, if we don’t start having open conversations about money then how are we going to change the status quo and how are we going to learn? If we don’t know how much our colleagues and friends are earning how do we know whether we are getting paid fairly and in line with the market? If we don’t share experiences, good and bad, how do we learn? Learning from the experiences of others could save us from making some expensive mistakes.
Financial Services Council NZ 2022 ”It Starts with Action” Money Talks Challenge
Financial Times 2022 “Seven things women need to know about money”
McKinsey&Company 2020 ‘Women as the next wave of growth in US wealth management’
Fidelity Investments 2021 Women and Investing Study
Stats NZ 2021 “Gender Pay Gap Unchanged”
Women Govt 2021 “Gender Pay Gap”
Disclaimer: Aga Krzeczkowska is a Senior Financial Adviser. The above article is intended to provide information and does not purport to give investment advice.
Mint Asset Management is the issuer of the Mint Asset Management Funds. Download a copy of the product disclosure statement here.
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