The statistics speak for themselves. At some point in their lives, 90% of women will be solely responsible for finances1, and nearly half of women – 44% – are the primary breadwinners in their household today2. Only 27% of married women say they “take control” of financial and retirement planning2. Sixty one percent of women would rather talk about their own death than money.3
Because of this and our deep personal connection to the topic, WealthStone is excited to announce an upcoming and ongoing series Women 4 Women. Designed for women, by women, the initiative has 4 objectives: to Educate, Empower, Promote and Welcome women to a comfortable space to explore various topics with experts in their respective fields. Annie Sidwell and Gina Grote, who are heading up the initiatives, sat down to discuss why they are leading the charge.
Why is this initiative important to you?
Gina: As women, there are different issues that we need to consider in financial planning and wealth management. Not all women are alike, but many women have never taken charge with finances and this is a new experience. Sometimes life circumstances happen and a woman is forced to take control when they have not been prepared. Some women may not have as much saved up toward retirement; they may not have earned as much because of wage disparity or taking time off to raise a family or to work part time.
Annie: It is also with the educational piece. Typically you are more comfortable with a topic if you are more educated. Traditionally, with gender roles, if a male is in the field of finance or investments, and the lady is not, then she may not have the same education to bring a different mindset or different point of view. So this can help equip and help level the playing field, to feel comfortable to ask those questions, to bring a different point of view to the table.
What makes this more than a sales tactic?
I think of it as a thank you to our community, rather than sales, because we want to provide a service to learn together and build each other’s network.Gina Grote
Annie: I view this as a true initiative for women that you can see starting with the new WealthStone team members. We have added passionate women with personal calls to action here. When I think about what draws me to this topic, I have two sisters, a sister-in-law, mom, nieces… On my small sample size, I have had my sisters call me because they don’t feel comfortable asking questions when they are sitting with their financial advisor. How would my Mom react if something happened to my Dad. It is very personal. I think of how I would want to be treated and how I want my family to be served.
Gina: And we are providing a network, the education and a comfortable place to come and ask those questions. We hope that women can come and meet each other and feel comfortable enough to ask those questions of people they come to trust. This provides something outside of the family.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in business?
Gina: Trying to figure out the balance between doing the best I can for my kids and do the best I could at work. Trying to do the best I can with limited time in a day, it is hard to figure out the work life and family life balance.
Annie: My challenges have been finding that network. It has been easier to find males in the financial services industry, but there is a different viewpoint and experience that comes from a woman’s point of view. Trying to establish that network professionally is a little difficult in the financial space.
How is WealthStone uniquely positioned to help build this network?
Annie: The recent additions to WealthStone, adding the senior talent that are women as well as the next generation of women have shown a conscious effort to add the personnel. We continue to change and grow.
Gina: The fact that we have been in business for so long and have helped so many generations gives us perspective. We offer so many services that we are able to see the big picture. So if someone is wanting to start a business or buy a property, we may have ideas to help and connections to get the info that they need.
What is the vision for this?
If the women leave knowing that they are not the only one and there are other ways to address that challenge, then we did something right.Annie Sidwell
Annie: I hope it will be a community gathering where everyone is able to walk in the door and know that we are there as a support system. We can help provide a level of comfort to speak of financial topics, which could also lead to other topics.
Gina: I am hoping that it is a group that comes together and that discussion happens. My goal is for women to look forward to coming together with in an environment where they aren’t afraid to ask questions. It is for our guests, so as it evolves, we can take it wherever they want to take it.
1 “Kiyosaki, Kim. “What Millennial Women Can Teach You About Financial Security.” Richdad.com, June 2, 2016.
2 “Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women Study.” Prudential, 2014-2015.
3 Kuhl, Joan. “The New Wellness Trend For Women Is Wealth.” Forbes.com, Aug 10, 2018.