Money & Relationships
In this session we are so fortunate to have Janine Firpo, Dr Ruth Shaber and Sheila Shroeder in dialogue discussing the differences in how men and women traditionally think about investing, spending money, saving money, money in general and how this might affect our lives and our relationships.
Given that 45% of marriages end in divorce in the US, and money issues are the No. 1 thing that couples argue about, this is a worthy conversation to have. Numerous studies have identified disagreements over finances as one of the top reasons couples seek marital counseling, as well as one of the top reasons for divorce. And we know that families are often reluctant to talk about money with their children, but experts say that can create confusion and insecurity. So thankfully, they’re going to share how to successfully engage in financial conversations and collaboration with partners, parents, children, and others.
However, it's not a secret that people involved in committed relationships tend to perform well, maybe even better, financially. Can a stable relationship help you achieve your financial goals? Ultimately, money can either build or break relationships so how can we make sure we avoid the later? After this conversation we expect to come out with a better understanding and a clear mindset of what’s actually important and what we should pay attention to keep building relationships instead of breaking them, after all relationships and money tend to come hand-in-hand.
I'm incredibly excited to introduce today's panel moderator, Janine ferpa. Janine is one of those intrepid souls who's always been one of the first to be part of the next big trends only she's been led by her values. First and foremost, she's a writer, angel investor, impact investor and social entrepreneur. Janine became a computer programmer in 1981 in a male dominated industry, and later in 1995, she became one of the first social entrepreneurs exploring how to do good socially while doing well financially. It is hard to be the first or that early in any trend. And the fact that Janine never gave up on social entrepreneurship speaks to the quality of our character and tenacity. She has been on a personal mission to invest all of her money in alignment with her values, as well as focus on how women can create a more just and equitable society through their financial investments.
She's the co-founder of Invest for Better, a nonprofit campaign on a mission to help women start impact investing, take control of their capital and mobilize their money for good. She's also a board member for Zebra's Unite, which is a founder created and founder-led movement that is bringing attention and solutions to getting more women and people of color access to equity and venture backing. She was also formerly the Deputy Director of Financial Services at Scale for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her book is called Activate Your Money, invest to Grow Your Wealth and Build a Better World. And I'll hand things over to Jeanine now and she'll introduce us to our other CO two panelists who will be talking about money and relationships, a topic that is relevant to everyone on this planet. So thank you guys.
Thank you so much, Shelly. That was a fantastic introduction and I'm going to have to steal it from you,
<laugh>. You got it.
And thank welcome. Thank you. Welcome. Thank you to link too for this opportunity to chat with everybody today. And thanks also to all of the participants who are on this call with us. Before I introduced the panelists, I want to give you a little bit of an intro to what we're planning to do today. We are going to, and I'm going to start by putting a stake in the ground and the stake in the ground is that I'm going to tell you that I believe, we believe that women think differently around money than men do. And I know this because I've seen it firsthand in my own work, both the work that I did domestically as well as the work that I did internationally. And the data backs me up on this. So we think differently and understanding and appreciating and embracing those differences can actually have a very positive impact on our relationships with money, on the investment choices that we're making and even on our returns.
And that's true both in the business setting as well as at home. So in today's conversation, we're going to talk not only about men and women's relationships with money, we're also going to talk about the impact of our joint involvement with money on financial markets and on returns. And we're going to be starting at the organizational level, sort of at a macro level, and then we're going to shift from that to the more personal level and how this plays out at home and how we can make our relationships there even better. We're going to leave you with some tips on how you can change your behavior and how you can change your thought processes to increase your returns and to put more meaning into your money and your relationships. So let's, let me now introduce our panelists. So first we have Dr. Ruth Shaver. She is the founder and president of Tara Health Foundation, which is an organization that promotes health wealthbeing and opportunity for women and girls through innovative, innovative evidence-based programs.
She's also the co-founder and board chair of reaves, which is a group of foundations and investors that are collaborating to bring new types of capital and new types of enterprises to the field of reproductive health. Before she did all that, however, Ruth was an obstetrician and a gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente for many years. And while she was there, she held leadership positions that included Director of Women's Health, the founder of the Women's Health Research Institute, and she also served as medical director at Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute. But she's here today as the co-author of the X X Edge, which is a book that shows when women make financial decisions and apply their skills across all capital markets, at least higher returns for individual indu investors at Greater end be talking to us about the extensive research that she and her authored in on that book.
My second guest is Sheila Schroeder, who is a senior vice president and regional head of business development at Wells Fire Advisors. When she joined that firm 10 years ago, she already had an impressive 25 year career on Wall Street where she focused on equity sales for firms like H B S C and Layman Brothers. During her time there, she was a senior institutional equity sales executive and her primary focus was on the Asian and Japanese markets. And she worked in sectors like real estate, commodities, infrastructure, consumer and financials. She also served as the lead salesperson on countless IPOs and secondary offerings, many of which were in excess of a billion dollars. So she has a strong financial background to say the least. And in addition to that, because of her role as a woman at a time when women were not in these kinds of fields, she was asked a lot about money.
She's been asked about money her whole life, and one of the things that she realized along the way is that just because people are wealthy, it doesn't mean they're educated about their money or their personal finances, and she wants everyone to become educated and financially independent. And she thinks that that starts with money conversations. And so her book, which will be published later this year, is called Let's Talk About Money. And it speaks to that, how we can begin to have conversations that lead us to a level of understanding, awareness and confidence. So as you can see, I have two really qualified but really different women to talk with me. And so I'm going to start a little bit at the more macro level, speaking a little bit more with Ruth, and then we'll move down to the home level, the more micro level where Sheila will come into the conversation a lot more. So I'm going to start though with a question for both of them, and that really is in when I started speaking, I talked about the fact that women think differently than men about money. And so I want to know if the two of you believe that to be true, and if so, how do we think differently? So Ruth, I'd love to start with you. What are your thoughts? Welcome first and
Thank you. Thank you, Janine. Thank you for that beautiful introduction and thank you to the LinkedIn team for having us today. Absolutely. Men and women think about money differently, but all people think about money differently. And I want to stress before I get into some of my thoughts on this, that these are tendencies. There are no absolutes that people are all individuals, but there's no question that there are tendencies that seem to play out across genders. And when we started out to write the book The XX Edge, we were interested in finding out how these different types of tendencies play out across all asset classes. So whether you're looking at small subsistence farmers in developing economies or at the most macro level with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies where there aren't that many women, of course we do see that there are different tendencies. Women tend to be more collaborative, they tend to have less ego, they tend to a assess risk differently. It doesn't mean that there aren't willing to take risks, but they analyze risks differently and they're less likely to be influenced by peer pressure when taking risks. And finally, they tend to be more interested in the long-term outcomes of financial decisions rather than looking for short-term gains. And these things manifest themselves in different behaviors. But absolutely they do seem to be gender traits that play out across the financial markets.
Great, thank you so much. And Sheila, you work with a lot of high net wealth individuals in your end families, in your work today, how do you see this playing out? Do you see this playing out in your work?
So I agree with Ruth, these are tendencies, absolutes. Overall. I think that the women we work with tend to be longer term thinkers. I think we'll talk about this in the conversation today, but women tend to trade less. So they create a portfolio that works for them and then they are comfortable in a sense to set it and forget it. I mean, barring things like market changes, you're rebalancing your portfolio, but generally they're like, let's create a roadmap for my life and then let's set the portfolio to that. And maybe once or twice a year they're looking at it thinking about what do I need to do differently? So it they're great about long-term thinking. Often they also want to know how does my portfolio impact the world around me? So that's very important. I'd say too that I often work with women who are really financially empowered.
On the other hand, sometimes in a couple situation women tend to be a little more hesitant. And so for example, I've never had a man say to me, I'm so ashamed, I don't know more about my personal finances but I have had women say that. And so the first thing we say is, let's get that word out of the room. For example, if I were a doctor, I would feel no shame that I don't know something about my personal finances. That's not what I studied. And I often say that none of us springs from the womb knowing about our personal finances. So that's really a difference I see too is that there's more a sense that of shame that I don't know. And then I also had that group that is really empowered and embracing that and they tend to think more collaboratively, collaboratively and long term.
I think you're that point you made about shame I think is absolutely true. I see that all the time. Women don't believe that they are good investors. Very few of them actually do. In fact, one of the stats I put in my book is that only 9% of women believe that they can outperform men as investors. And yet we've seen through research, like a study that was done recently by Fidelity that looked at 5 million accounts over a 10 year period, they found that the women outperform the men by 40 basis points. And the reason is because of the kinds of things that you talk about. The other thing that I think is really important to realize when we talk about women in money, and this is for the men who are listening too because I know there are a lot of men on this call.
When you think about the women that you love, I mean, one of the challenges that women in women face is we unfortunately don't make as much money as men. We tend to have shorter work lives because of our reproductive years and we live longer, so we are actually having to do more with less. And so it's really important for us to move from an approach that many women take, which is saving or great savers. We're great philanthropists. We do better at both of those than men. But when it comes to investing, we don't. And on average, this is, I'm think this is true of the audience we're talking to here, but on average, women save 70 cents on the dollar in cash. In cash. And I don't have to tell this audience what that means about your long-term financial health. So I think there are important differences, and as I said earlier, understanding what those are and really taking them into consideration as men and women I think is really important. But Ruth, you talked about the importance of collaboration. So how do these differences work for or against us as we start looking about at men and women and their money relationships? And what do you think happens when women move past some of these hurdles we mentioned to really move into roles of financial decision makers and investment collaborators?
What happens? So yeah, so certainly diversity in general allows teams. So whether it's a couple in a family or a boards of big companies or a new startup on founder team that when you have diversity on that team, you are going to be able to see around the corners and cover the blind spots. If everybody in a room making a financial decision looks exactly the same, then you're going to miss stuff. So first of all, just a general importance of diversity in financial decision making, but also in terms of what women bring to the table is that women tend to do more with less. So once again, if you look at subsistence farmers or all the way up to the cfo F O of big fortune 500 companies, women tend to be more efficient with the money that they have. And perhaps it's because they tend to get less money, but no matter what, they are more efficient.
And they also, this is a really important consideration that women are closer to the problems that need to be solved. So whatever the product or service is that the company you're investing in is making, chances are that women are the ones who are going to be interacting with that product either because they're the largest consumers of commercial products in general or in the healthcare system or education. They tend to be the workforce that is identifying the problems that innovative solutions are trying to solve. And when you bring the people who are actually closest to the problems into the room, then you're going to get better solutions. And certainly things like managing household childcare, managing aging parents understanding the education system, understanding the barriers in healthcare. These are all essential life experiences that make women really excellent financial decision makers.
That's really a good point. One of the things that you talked about is that possibly the reason that women's money can they make it go farther is because they have less. That could be true. But what I saw, so a lot of the work that I did when I was working in international development was around microfinance and giving small loans to women generally to help bring them out of poverty. And what we saw in that work is when you gave more money to men, and this is a gross generalization to some degree, but it really actually plays out, and I would say over 80% of microfinance clients are women. Because of this, you give more money to the men and they will buy alcohol, cigarettes, things that they want. You give more money to the women. And the very first thing they do is they provide more food for their kids.
So the first thing they do is they feed their kids. And the second thing they do once they feel like their kids are getting the nutrition they need is they put them in school and they try to make sure those kids get an education. And this really speaks to the difference we talked about earlier, which is that women care about what their money is invested in. I mean, this is a big part of what we're doing with Invest For Better. We're putting women into investment clubs and teaching them how to be smart, confident investors. But the reason they care is because they're starting to realize that their money can have a tremendous impact in the world. The ways that we choose to invest our money can actually change the economy. And so I think that that's really important. But Ruth, in your book, what's interesting to me is you go even farther because you claim that if we involve women more as financial decision makers, we can actually get higher returns on our investments. So how does that work and what proof do you have that that's actually true because that's quite a statement?
Yes, and I'm very proud to say that we did a very thorough assessment of the existing research across all asset classes. And as a medical scientist who really built my career on the fundamental importance of evidence before making decisions, I was concerned when we set out to write this book that we might have to cherry pick the data that we would have to be selective. And that actually was not true. Anything that was published across the industry really supported our thesis that when women are involved in financial decision making, theirs superior financial discerns returns. And this isn't a question of men versus women, frankly, it's a question of gender diversity. So for instance, there was a really interesting study that Vanguard did recently. They published it that looked at 2,600 actively managed funds, and they followed these funds from 2008 to 2021. And what they saw was that if the teams that were managing the money were gender diverse, so they categorized the teams into four categories.
All men, all women, gender diverse, but majority men and gender diverse majority women, the gender diverse majority women teams outperformed all of the other teams by 47 basis points. And they went so far as to say, if the only thing you did with your portfolio was remove all of the teams that were managed by all men, and frankly, those were the teams that did the worst and tried to select as much as possible for gender diverse majority female, you would outperform the market by 58 basis points. Can you imagine any other easily discernible factor that could protect your portfolio like that because of our cultural biases that it makes it so hard to accept, but the data plays out over and over again. There was another McKinsey study that was published recently that showed that in the teams, in public companies in the top quartile of diversity outperformed by 21%.
And we see this in microfinance. We see it in entrepreneurship in venture capital. And once again, it's not about men versus women, it's not about women replacing men, it's about adding seats at the table and having the diversity of decision making that lets us all perform better and interesting. It also results in economic growth. And Janine, you had the example of what happens when women have more control of money in a household and how they provide more money for their kids and school and food. And that actually that same phenomenon plays out at a macro level because when women are included in at big companies or in entrepreneurship, in philanthropy, they tend to contribute more to their families and their communities and society in general. And that leads to economic growth that we all benefit from.
So that's a huge takeaway. If you look for diverse teams, you can actually get a better return on your investment. And what you talked about in public companies is also true in private companies. A shocking statistic because I know a lot of people on this call are private investors. I'm an angel investor too. In 2021 of all the venture capital money that was invested in this country, 2.2% went to female CEOs and last year it got worse. It went to 1.9%. And yet the data shows that when you have women running companies or diverse teams, they outperform men by as much as 67%. So a big takeaway if you want to see good financial return in the public markets and in the private markets, start looking for diversity in your teams. But what I'd like to do now, cause we've talked a lot about the big picture, I'd like to shift down a little bit to the home and Sheila asked you, how do you think what we're talking about here in terms of collaboration, women in more financial decision making roles works out at the home level?
So it's not unusual. If you look at studies also, you'll see that as in terms of the home, a lot of women do what that, what's often referred to as financial housekeeping. They pay all the bills, they take care of what needs to be done financially, but they don't do the investments naturally. That is changing. We have found that when we work with individuals and families, we try to bring a diverse team to the table. So literally you've got a portfolio manager, a financial advisor, you've got the number two, we try to create diversity within that. It just tends to be more collaborative. What I find over and over is that women, when they get a chance to start becoming more financially empowered, obviously they make better decisions. But I'll get really sort of qualitative here. I have worked with women who didn't feel particularly financial empowered, financially empowered, and the relationship between their partner was strained as a result.
So I think I can speak to anyone on this call that we don't want to be given an allowance. That's a very 50 sort of thing. A husband would come home, give a percentage of the salary, and the wife would sort of manage the household through that. So clearly, fortunately, times have changed, but the more women are empowered to say, look, what's going on in our retirement funds? What are we thinking about in what can we afford? I've had people come to me and say, I don't know, can we retire? And I said, are you having that conversation? Do you know what's in your investment portfolio? Oh, my husband's already handled that and doesn't want to talk about it or feels that I am. I'm not trustful if I'm asking these questions. So that's a horrible feeling and position to be in. So the more we find each spouse can talk about the money conversations, talk about what's in their financial portfolio and learn together. And if one person has greater muscle strength on the financial side, let's get the other person up there too so that they can have a dynamic cona conversation. These are intelligent, well-educated people. They are completely capable of doing it. They just haven't been using that muscle. But once they do, what we see over and over and over is greater strength in the partnership and that is really exciting.
Well, one of the things I was going to ask you is, okay, we're talking a lot about women and how these kinds of conversations and stepping into this financial power is good for women, but how does it help the men? Because I think that it does, and I think that there's an opportunity for the men in empowering their wives as well or empowering the women that are around them as well. So how does having women be more financially astute, taking more of the financial decision making on how does it help Matt?
Number one, it takes the pressure off. No, it's so much better if you don't have to do it all yourself. You're living with someone who is your partner in so many ways, wouldn't it be pooler or better or more fun to be able to have that joint financial conversation with that person who you are making financial decisions with? Whether I'm going to buy a new house, we're going to buy a new car, we're going to send the kids to public school versus private school. Those are financial conversations. They all have financial tethers. So if your spouse is fully engaged, knows where you're going and you're having this equal conversation, it takes the pressure off the guy. They don't have to make all the, and maybe you find through this collaboration that one of the partners has a particular strength in one area that they can bring to the table. It's not all on you.
That is actually part of the power of what we do with investor better. And what we hear from the women so much is that we're actually putting them into conversations with each other. And the pieces of that that are really so powerful for them is first, it's giving them a super safe space to talk about money with other women. And I've been in investment clubs three time in my, three times in my life, I can't tell you how much I learned from them. It's amazing how much we can learn from each other when we start to have these conversations. So that's one thing. And then the other thing that speaks to what you're talking about is you're not responsible. They actually share the research so they don't have to do it all themselves. They don't have to make every decision themselves. They have sounding boards to say, Hey, I'm thinking about this investment, what do you think?
And they have a whole community of women who are there to help answer that question. The other thing I think that's really encouraging is when we're looking at younger people, they're not fitting into that 1950s role anymore. And in fact, there's much more of her money and his money. There's a separation of accounts, particularly as people are getting married later in life and so on. And so people are starting to really deal with their money differently. There are also situations I know of where the women are the ones who are making all of the investment decisions and the men are super happy not to have to deal with it. So that goes back to where we started this conversation, which are there are no definitive roles. It's like men are not this and women are that, right? But it's much greater than that. And allowing women to step into this really creates greater opportunity for everyone. But Sheila, when you and I were talking earlier, one of the things that you talked to me about that I thought was really interesting was the idea of money dates. So my husband and I, we have dates, we go on dates, but to keep everything sort of interesting and keep that romance in the marriage, but what is a money date? What is that? How does it work? And how would somebody do that?
Well, thank you for asking. So money dates are a set time that a couple sets aside to discuss a money conversation, some money issue that they're facing. So I will say I'm in a mixed marriage. I'm Protestant, my husband is Catholic, and if we wanted to get married in the Catholic church, we had to do something called Pre-Cana. And I went kicking and screaming to pre-Cana. We get there and they have you fill out a questionnaire, but it's about all these different things. Do you want to have children? How much debt do you have? I mean, it's all over the place, but finance is definitely a part of it. And during the sessions, I remember you'd hear people we're in this big room, you'd hear people say what you have, how much debt or you'd hear someone else say, you want to have kids? So we're engaged, we're planning to get married.
That's why everyone's in the room. And then I've been in finance my whole life and I'm always surprised at how many times important things don't get discussed. So that is why I wrote the book. Let's talk about money. Dates are a terrific way. So back to the pre-Cana, doing the pre-cana helped my husband and I create a structure for ourselves where we started to be comfortable really sharing our finances, our financial goals, and if we had rough spots, how are we going to handle that? And just started creating a foundation for ourselves. And that's what a money date is about. It is about bringing the two people together in that partnership to start to establish their money foundation, the way they're going to talk about it. I often say, and just nuts and bolts, money dates are something you do and it depends on the cadence you need.
I would say every couple weeks, maybe once a month or once a quarter, whatever works for the couple. But then come up with a bit of an agenda. And I'm not talking PowerPoint, I'm talking take a note card and write. We want to talk about we're saving for a home, very basic. We're saving for a home. And how are we going to do that? What choices are we going to make as a result? So for example, you're saving for a home and then you need a new car. Well, if you have a money date, then you can start to say, do we need a new car? Can we buy a used car? How much do we want to spend on that? Or another money date topic, and this is long term. When do we want to be work optional? Well, that's a longer term thing.
Is that something that's important to us? Is it for both of us or just one of us, et cetera. Money dates are a way to put on the agenda things that you want to talk about or should talk about. And then on a regular cadence, get together to do it. And the reason I call them money dates is they should be fun. Frankly, maybe I'm a bit of a nerd on this, but I think nothing is more fun than having your financial house in order, knowing where the path is going, do it over dinner, do it over lunch, go take a hike together. I'm a big believer in not doing it on an empty stomach, but set yourself up for success. Keep it kind of short. It doesn't need to be a three hour thing just because it's a lot. It can be a lot to absorb. So 40 minutes, maybe in an hour, discuss a couple topics and then rinse and repeat. Keep doing that. And then you'll find over time, couples really start to get more collaborative and they research different things. Okay, maybe we're not going to buy that new car, we're going to buy something else. You research this thing and I'll research this thing. Let's come back at our next money date and talk about it. So it becomes right. Sharing strengths, learning together, collaborative.
I love that. One last question because I know that we're getting close on time here and I think we could talk about these things for quite a long time, but if, let's say you're in a relationship and you're the woman in the relationship and you're having a hard time getting your husband and your partner to pay attention to you what could you do? How could you maybe encourage him to let you into that conversation? And vice versa, if you are the man in the conversation and your wife is just like, I don't want to be bothered, I don't want to know about that, you really like her to be engaged, what could you possibly say to her that would bring her into the conversation?
Oh, that's such an important question, Janine. Thanks for asking that. So number one, if you don't, I join a financial book club. Join a group like yours, get them. Once you get people in a room, especially women, and they st, they're like, oh, I don't know this. And it's okay. You don't know it either, and you learned it. So one, women are so great at their community, we all know it takes a village to get almost anything done. So find the village, find your people and start to educate yourself. So whether it's a financial book club, I love financial book club, pick a book every couple months, get together and talk about it. You're going to learn something, you'll exercise that muscle. So for women, seek resources and talk to your friends. One thing I say about talking about money, you can talk about money without ever disclosing your actual numbers, right?
Learning strategy. How do you think about it when it comes to men who want their women to be more their wives, to be more engaged? Well, often if you have a financial advisor, work with your financial advisor to get them to more engage your spouse in the conversation. And sometimes we find they might not want to bring it up at the same time. So you can ask your financial advisor, could you, we set up a separate meeting, I want to make sure you're talking to my spouse about that and start to get engaged. And then really try to understand why isn't she engaged? Is there some sort of energy you're putting out there that makes it sound, that makes her feel that she can't do it? Examine that because it's surmountable. You can find a solution or you could even talk to your buddies. How did you get your spouse more engaged? What are some things that happened for you that helped move that forward? So I think if there's a willingness, then there will be a solution. But also keep in mind it's not a one and done thing. If someone is resistant, go back and try again and keep trying until you finally figure out what is the solution to this? How do we bring this person into the conversation?
Well, one way that brings her in is purpose. So a lot of times when you go to a financial advisor, you talk about money, it's all about the numbers, it's all about the returns. It really starts there. And when I've talked to a lot of female financial advisors and to female clients, they want to start with, well, what does this mean to me? What does it mean to my life? Where is the purpose? Where is the purpose for me? And what is that money actually doing and what's it impacting? So purpose matters for women a lot, and that's a great way to bring her into the conversation.
And if I could just circle back on that a little bit more, at the very beginning of this conversation, you talked about philanthropy. Women are great philanthropists. What is philanthropy? But investing in something we believe in.
Exactly. Exactly. And oh, what I'm all about is, and philanthropy is a tiny bit of your total net wealth. What you're investing the rest of the money in could be undermining the very philanthropy that you're trying to do. And all of that money that you have, whether it's in a cash account, in a bank stock market, private deal, all of it could be used to advance the goals that you have for the world, for your family, for your community, all of it, every dollar. And that's what I'm doing. So before we wrap up, Ruth, we've had you quiet for a little bit. I just want to circle back, make sure you don't have anything that you want to add before I sort of summarize what we talked about and open up the room for questions.
Thanks, Janina. I think that the issue around purpose is really interesting and it plays out in so many ways certainly in business, that women do tend to bring in the purpose of capital much more robustly than men do. And once again, these are just tendencies. Women tend to be more interested in climate change, even if they're running a company that has nothing to do with the environment. And it certainly plays out in the households too. And so I think that is a really not only an important way to engage women in these conversations, women who feel intimidated or don't trust their competency in the field. But also it's an important thing to recognize when we're looking for women financial leadership, that they're going to get money's do more than just give you your returns. It money can do two things at one time, purpose and returns.
Absolutely. Great. Well thank you both for your time and for being on the call. I just want to share a couple of last spots for people to take away with. So here's a couple of key points. So first of all, I'm reminding you that if you want to maximize your returns, think about the diversity of the team, whether you're talking public investments or private investments, it also is within everyone's power, as Sheila was saying, to manage a portfolio. And whether we're talking about doing that professionally or at home, and when you share that responsibility across diverse teams, you get a better outcome. So keep that in mind. And then open transparent money conversations are incredibly empowering for everyone and we encourage you all to get a money date on the calendar. So with that I know that Karim had come back in, we'll open it up for questions.
Yeah, no I came back in because oh it was really fascinating and thank you so much Ruth and Janine and Sheila. So it's interesting as we wait for some questions, the observation is too, you pointed out there is the relationship that you have personally with your spouse or partner to talk about money, and then you broke that down into various segments. And the other one was the corporate environment where women are making are more involved in a corporate governance and the returns have shown to be higher or more persistently in the right direction. I'm curious to know, so I didn't grow up in the us I grew up in Africa and as I think about a global environment before we go to a second question of power and the lack of or the desire not to give it up, and I think Craig made that comment on the chat about male dominance in various societies and speaking about money you may be taken as losing that authority and power in that relationship balance.
But before we go there, that might create a little bit of attention within this environment. But let's look at a society or economies that are driven by women. So most emerging countries, the earner of the significant area in the household is a woman. In that scenario with your research, have you seen a difference between the conversations that happen between men and women in that case as this environment where it's driven by men, north America, Europe, I suspect not all of Europe but some parts of Europe where it's driven by men, so the balance of power is in different hands. And what have you seen happen there?
Well, I'll jump in and thanks for that question. And once again, these are tendencies and cultural overlays are incredibly important in how a family deals with money or power. And I think there are really are no true matriarchies in this world that unfortunately at least not at this point in time, that even in countries where women are the primary earners, whether it's because they're the ones who are managing the small farms or the small businesses and even when there's single parent households and how women use money in those CIR circumstances, I think plays out in the kinds of things we mentioned already. And there tend to be more lean and tend to be more investing in their children and in their environments. I don't think that we can draw the conclusion that there's a different power relationship between the spouses or even in the communities that women tend to use money differently.
But the, it's still the men who are calling the shots, it's still the men who are the local governments and have still have the power. It's an interesting paradigm shift that we're talking about that women tend to be seen around the world in every culture as the beneficiaries or the victims of how money's used and rather than being the actors or the agents and solution drivers. And I think that if you think about in every single community around the world, there's an opportunity to change that paradigm and bring women more into the agency and solution driving roles.
But we're going to open it up to Kristen a little bit, but I have a follow up question in relation to that particular statement, which is if we look at your commentary about this is no longer the fifties whereby we're housekeepers and pocket money or budget money there are startup companies now that are trying to get couples at the very early stage of a relationship to start to split their accounts proactively prior to going out, spending money, et cetera, and then having that tension during the date actually. So when you start to look at that paradigm shift, it's all about education and equality of conversation. We're in an era that all of us have gone through that learning process, but how long do you think before and which generation will it be that the quality starts to normalize?
I think I can speak to that. I think it's happening right now. I'm so excited about the younger generation. I feel like I rarely meet a young woman today who isn't on top of this or they're interested in it. That shame word has really gone out. My firm works with a lot of executive women and their families and these are women who are well educated, they make very good incomes, they have a plan and they are really speaking to that. So I think that things have changed, not everything, but the world has changed a lot. So I think there's a lot to be hopeful about. And so the women are on top of it and I think they're bringing it along their male counterparts. I think there are many men who are used to a certain sort of paradigm and they're getting hearing the message that we're going to be in an equal relationship and it's good for both of us. So definitely in the Bay area, definitely on the coast, I feel that empowerment has happened, continues to happen, people are educating themselves, there are so many great resources. So it's definitely changing and I think there's a lot to be proud of and optimistic about.
I would love to add something to that. And that is I think that it is, all of us have the responsibility and the opportunity to change this and we can do that in our own home. So part of the reason that I am as competent around money and is comfortable with money as I am is because my mom taught me. So my mom taught me through osmosis. She was learning, she was buying and selling real estate before that was a thing. She was investing in the stock market on the sly. My dad didn't know she was doing it because he wouldn't have liked it when he realized how well she was doing, he got behind it. But my mom was always open about it. She talked to us all the time and I learned by osmosis. And so as parents, we can stock this. We can teach our kids, both of our sons and our daughters. I've had young women tell me, young women in their thirties tell me that their dads taught their brothers how to invest, but they didn't teach them. So some of that still goes on, so we can all change it. And one of my dreams is that we are the last generation of women who don't know this stuff, who aren't brought up with this stuff. So
That's great. Thank you. Chris, are you ready with your question?
Yes thank you. Thank you very much indeed to all the panelists and hosting this event today. I certainly started this session thinking I knew it all but I love the idea of the money dates and the collaborative approach and the sort of mutual benefit in the relationship particularly. But my question would be in an ideal world, how would you see the role of institutions, whether it be the school or outside of that parent sphere, what would be better to almost empower both genders very early on? And then secondly, I mean if I look at my own finances and how I run things as it were, we do silo we play to our strengths. So I feel somewhat there are advantages to that in a real world. And I just your thoughts on that all things equal is nice, but sometimes it's the teamwork and the collaboration is good as well. Thank you.
Hi Chris. If it's okay, I'll take the first half. Maybe Sheila, you'll take the second half of his question. I think that in terms of how do we set up our societies differently, if I could say that right now, the workforce that our children see tend to be women, whether it's in the classroom or in healthcare or the retail agents when they go to the shops but the ownership of those companies and the governance of those companies are men. So you might see that your grade school teachers are all women, but the principal's a man and it's going to take some sorting of our societies to have role models throughout our system that boys and girls can see and relate to and understand that, oh, I can be the head of a school if I'm a girl, or I can be voted in to be running the school board in my community or own the grocery store, not just work in as a cashier. And it takes a while and it takes women understanding that there are career paths and opportunities for them that don't just stop at a glass ceiling when they reach a middle management level.
One thing I would add along the education part is right now I think only 14, maybe 16 states in the United States require any kind of financial literacy training. I'd love to see schools bring that back. I regularly speak to teenagers and to schools about financial literacy, financial fundamentals. So I'd love to have more of that in our school curriculum. And I think it can start very, very young and that would be empowering for both people. So in terms of education, there's more we can do in terms of the silos. So that happens all the time. But one of the things I say is that if you're in a relationship and one of the people leave and you don't know how to cook, you can probably figure out how to feed yourself. But if you're in a relationship and one of you have more strengths on one financial area versus another, that could be a problem.
And so it's very normal for one person to handle one aspect of the finances. The other person is stronger on the other. But I think it is really crucial that you each have some sort of comfort level. You don't have to be the expert, but you want both people to know at least at a fundamental level what the other person is doing and where the resources are to become stronger in that. So if one of those per people in that relationship disappears for some reason the other person isn't foundering because they're like, wow, I didn't know anything about this. That other person should know at least a certain level so that they're not in a bad situation if something negative happens.
I've seen that happen a lot. So it's death or divorce is not the time you want to figure out or some terrible tragedy is not the time you want to have to start to figure out what this all is about your money or to put total trust into an advisor who you don't even know. And that's something that we talk to the women in invest for better about all the time, is you don't have to become an expert on this, just know enough to ask the right questions. Just know enough to and analyze something and to know whether you're getting told the right things or not. So I think it's insurance, it's a kind of insurance to make sure that if something happens that the people you love are not going to be bereft because they don't know what to do or they end up getting taken advantage of.
Thank you. There is question from Bridget McGrath Massey, how does one demonstrate the expertise to get on boards to provide perspective and diversity?
There are services, there are brokers now that help find working often for the companies who are looking for a more diverse board to recruit, whether it's women or racially diverse board members. So there are lots of opportunities, but one of the most important things is just to lean into your lived experience and know that don't be intimidated. If you have the opportunity to join a board, be who cares, whether it's the token woman, just go for it because you're going to learn and you're going to grow and you'll be surprised by how much your lived experience is incredibly relevant to whatever that board is trying to sort out.
Thank you. So we've covered an exceptional amount of ground here today and actually one of the calls that I was looking at, I got to poke a little bit at this, so you obviously there's no right or wrong answer, but one of the questions was, have you ever had issues with your partner when you discuss money? And slightly about 50% said, no, I'm going to challenge that just because there are no right or right answers. But I'm telling you, I've had a lot of issues discussing money with my partner all over and over again. It's a very difficult topic. So those folks who said they've never had an issue, we actually all need a coaching lesson on how you manage to do this <laugh>, because it's the most mundane stuff that we go through sometimes buying that sports car or buying that electric bike that causes a lot of problems. Hey honey, I was out today, so a great deal. I had a 60% sale and I bought it. What's the big deal? I mean it, that's as simple as that. That could lead to a divorce. No,
It's the number one of the number one issues for divorces and marital upsets. So that is really surprising. Really surprising.
And I can say that I truly have never had a money fight with my husband ever. Oddly, we fight about other things, but we don't fight about money. And it is these sort of money conversations, money dates, he's completely nothing. He does not know about the finances. And you can probably tell in my family I to handle the finances, but there is nothing that he does not know. There would be no surprises for him. He knows who our financial advisor is, he knows where all those things are. And you can model that, by the way, if you want to buy that sports car and it's creating friction, you can model what that impact is and create a place where we can totally swing this, et cetera. So there are lots of tools to help remedy that.
Thank you. All right. For all of you guys who have not had fights, join us again and tell us your secrets for all of those people that have had conflict. That's a story to tell as well. So that's always interesting. I do. Going back to the education thing, it it's appalling that we do not have enough financial education starting early. I mean, if kids don't know how to balance a checkbook, that's horrible. It's a crazy society given the society that we live in, that is not a fundamental educational policy. It doesn't make any sense. Anyways, putting that aside thank you everybody here and I would like to offer the opportunity. Obviously we had over 120 hundred 30 people who registered less than that showed up but they will hear this recording because they did register. I'm offering up for anyone that was here today. If you would like any or all of those books that have been written by Ruth, Janine, or Sheila and anyone else just express your interest to us here via email or chat. We'll record that. I'll try and get that book for you and send it out to you. So thank you, Ruth, Janine, Sheila thank you everybody for joining us today. We'll look forward to continuing the conversation. Much appreciated.
Thank you so much. Take care.