SAN FRANCISCO — The biggest driver of the investment gap between men and women isn’t knowledge or other financial obligations, but fear, according to a new study by SoFi and professional networking site Levo League (Levo).
SoFi partnered with Levo on a co-branded study, titled “How Millennial Women Invest,” to gain insights into millennial women spending behaviors and investing habits timed to Equal Pay Day 2018.
Despite the cultural narrative around millennials and financial planning, the study found young women to be incredibly active and prudent managers of their personal finances with the cash flow to pay off debt, save money, and invest for the future. However, while millennial women are extremely active in managing their financial status, and over 50%+ have the means to invest each month, the study found the majority of millennial women do not to invest due to fear (56%). Furthermore, the study results indicated the top two reasons why millennial women do not invest is because they don’t know where to start (25%+) and because they are paying down their debt (25%+).
“There is an incredible opportunity to increase the level of comfort and education around investing for the millennial woman,” says Libby Leffler, Vice President of Membership at SoFi. “Our study with Levo shows millennial women are financially responsible — paying down debt is a major priority. However, being financially responsible is also planning for the future. The survey findings show us that millennial women are more likely to invest with proper tools – that’s what we strive to offer at SoFi with our Wealth product and hundreds of member events each year.”
Levo surveyed a national sample of 2,050 female consumers ages 18-34 with an average salary of $50k+ in annual income. A few key themes emerged from the study:
(1) Millennial women are active managers of their personal finances. The majority (53%) of respondents do have an emergency savings fund covering three to six months of housing and necessities. In addition, the strong majority (70%) of our respondents are reviewing their bank accounts once per week or more.
(2) Millennial women have the resources to invest, but say fear holds them back from investing. The majority (57%) of our respondents have extra money after paying their bills to invest. However, the majority (56%+) say fear holds them back from investing.
(3) A portion of millennial women find investing to be “a total mystery.” In terms of approach to investing, one in four women (25%) find investing to be “a total mystery.” If they are not currently investing their money, the top two reasons are because they don’t know where to start (25%) or because they are paying down their debt first (25%).
(4) Millennial women would pay down their debts at the first bonus opportunity. Almost half of respondents would pay down their debts faster if given a $10K bonus.
(5) Millennial women say “stability for my future” is top investment goal. While stability emerged clearly as the top investment goal (85%+), almost 61% of respondents also prioritized wealth as a way to pursue outside passions and interests.
“At Levo, we have built a platform to support women in their careers, and a huge part of that is how they grow wealth and pursue a life of purpose,” says Alisa Leonard, President at Levo. “Millennial women are a powerful economic force representing a $170 billion market, and yet 56% of women who have the money to invest say they do not do so because fear holds them back. We see demystifying investing through education as key strategy for reducing fear of investing and help women grow their wealth. In fact, in our study 48% of millennial women agreed that access to more education and tools would make it more likely for them to invest. There is tremendous opportunity now for women to grow their wealth, and for companies like SoFi to help them do so.”
More information about the study, as well as the full results, are available here http://sofi.com/blog/majority-of-millennial-women-have-money-to-invest-but-fear-holds-them-back/
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SoFi Lending Corp. is licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law, license number 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. Advisory services are offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC.