It’s an unfortunate fact of life that in 2021, women are generally paid less than men according to overseas research.* In New Zealand, we’re lucky to live in the fourth most gender-equal country in the world. Even so, the latest figures from Stats NZ reveal that our gender pay gap remains 9.1 per cent.
On top of this, women live longer – the current life expectancy for a woman in New Zealand is 83.5 years old, compared to 80 for men. With women having to stretch less income across more years, it’s clear there’s a need to make that money work as hard as possible. That fact is evidently not lost on women – research by the Commission for Financial Capability in 2019 showed that 74 per cent of women are stressed about money. However, there are a number of misconceptions about investing that could be preventing women from taking steps towards improving their situation.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Many people are put off the idea of investing because they believe it’s too complex. But engaging an advisory firm like Craigs Investment Partners can make the process simple. “I know investing can be a bit daunting at first but I take each client through the investing process, one step at a time, as fast or as slow as they want me to. Our role is to make investing understandable and an enjoyable experience,” says Craigs investment adviser Sara O’Connor, who breaks down each step of the process with clients and addresses any concerns they may have.
SOPHIA’S STORY – LEARNING TO INVEST AS A WIDOW
Sophia initially tried investing on her own before she met her Craigs investment adviser, Annabel Shand. She admits she was panicked when her husband passed away 15 years ago.
“I knew I would have to look after the finances eventually but I was floundering when it happened,” she says, adding that her attempt at investing by herself was done “unwisely to begin with. I got a bit swept up and put far too much money into investments that were very popular at the time. Fortunately I met Annabel in time and we were able to address all that and start again.”
The idea that investing is risky can be of particular concern to women. Shand says a lot of people cite the 1987 stock market crash as a reason why they’re worried about investing. “What people don’t realise is that there are ways to mitigate risk and to align it with what you are comfortable with,” she says.
Craigs go through a discovery process that gives advisers an understanding of a client’s starting point, their objectives and capacity for risk. “Each individual is so different in what their needs and requirements are, so the discovery is really important,” says Shand.
HAILEY’S STORY – GROWING AN INHERITANCE
Hailey inherited an investment from her late grandparents when she was 21. She recalls first meeting with O’Connor nine years ago to discuss her intentions. “We went through what my goals were, so she could then work out how to structure the portfolio,” Hailey says. “I told her that I would like it in high-growth investments, with the end goal of potentially using the money for a house or a business. We’ve seen really good, healthy growth out of it.”
O’Connor notes that younger investors often have the ability to take on more risk, “but it’s matching that to your tolerance as well so that you can sleep at night and I can sleep at night, too.” She says that education is one of the biggest ways to reduce risk. “I find that once people understand how inflation works and what that does to your savings, then they realise there’s a risk not to invest.”
THE BENEFITS OF INVESTING – MORE THAN JUST FINANCIAL
Investing can improve overall wellbeing and reduce stress by taking control of finances for the future. It’s why Craigs has been running a Women’s Wealth programme since 2007, providing women with more knowledge and confidence to start investing or become better investors. Sophia has regularly attended educational seminars as part of the programme. “Every single one of them has been excellent – interesting, informative, very well run and a great social gathering,” she says.
Sophia says “investing has been a very advantageous move when it comes to my overall wealth and wellbeing. It’s been a great solution to my problems. A good income from a portfolio managed by professionals means I feel more secure.”
Meanwhile, Hailey is happy her investments will help her into a home. “I know I can draw a deposit from that and I wouldn’t be able to if the portfolio hadn’t performed so well over the last nine years,” she says. She would advise anyone thinking about investing to “talk to Craigs and get an investment adviser because they know what they’re doing”. “I have total confidence in them,” Sophia says. “I don’t have a huge portfolio but with excellent management, it’s providing me with a really good income, and I have got all the other advantages that go with investing.”
Craigs Investment Partners is one of New Zealand’s leading investment advisory firms, with over 170 qualified investment advisers across 19 branches from Kerikeri to lnvercargill. To learn more about Craigs’ Women’s Wealth programme and discover what Craigs can offer, visit craigsip.com/insights/womens-wealth or phone 0800 272 442 to talk to an adviser.
Disclaimer: This article is general in nature and is not financial advice. It does not take into account your financial situation, objectives, goals, or risk tolerance. All investments involve risk and can go down as well as up. The Craigs Investment Partners Limited Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement can be viewed at craigsip.com/terms-and-conditions. Visit craigsip.com. Before making any investment decision Craigs Investment Partners recommends you contact an investment adviser.
*source: World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, March 2021.
*Client names have been changed at their request