Tips to Close the Investment Gender Gap

Investment income can help offset a financial gender gap.

A little more than half (53 percent) of the women in America have started saving for retirement and have accumulated less than half ($34,000) compared to men, ($76,700), according to a 2015 BlackRock investment survey.1 The savings gap also shows the two genders also have a gap when it comes to risk. Women are more conservative and have a higher proportion of their total investment in cash.

Marla Simmons, Vice President and Wealth Advisor for Regions Private Wealth Management in Shreveport, Louisiana, provides insight on how women can offset that investing gap and working with knowledgeable professionals who can help boost investment income. She offers these five tips:

1. Educate Yourself

Learn as much as you can about financial terms and concepts, such as stocks and bonds. The more familiar you become with these terms, the more comfortable you will be making financial decisions.

2. Maximize Retirement Savings

A number of factors can affect your retirement income. For example, women tend to live longer than men and may step out of the workplace while raising a family. It’s important to adjust for these and other changes to your retirement savings plan. Contributing the full amount to your 401(k) plan and setting up other investment accounts, such as brokerage accounts, can help compensate for any saving gap.

3. Consider Less Risk Averse Investments

Taking more risk with your investments means you have the potential to receive higher returns over time. A wealth advisor can help you establish a portfolio designed to meet your current and future goals with an appropriate balance of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents.

4. Find a Financial Advisor Who Treats You With Respect

Your financial advisor should listen to all of your concerns and ask for your input. He or she should take the time to educate you on insurance, investment choices, and estate planning.

5. Learn Why You Have Certain Investments

It’s vital for you to know about the products you invest in. Ask your financial advisor why certain investments are important, and make sure you understand the underlying fee structures and how those fees are paid.

1BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey of 4,000 US investors