How many of you would be surprised to know that in the Forbes List of the Top 100 Richest people in the world, only seven of them are women! When one delves deeper, one finds that almost all their wealth is inherited and is NOT the result from making it big in the business world. Of course, there are some exceptions, but here we are in the year 2017 and we kid ourselves that we have broken through the glass ceiling of corporate ladders or whatever metaphor makes us feel empowered! The wealthiest woman in the world, coming in at number 14, is the French heiress Liliane Bettencourt, whom inherited one third of the cosmetic company, L’Oreal.
Liliane worked in the business and from the tender age of 15 she could be found labelling shampoo bottles. Her career, however, was short-lived, and it was her husband, Andre, that became the deputy Chairman of the Group. The others on the list have surnames like Mars (chocolate bar heiress), Jobs (daddy’s Daughter), Windsor (The Queen) and so it continues. So, in mid-2017 we have to question where we really find ourselves with the concept of “Women & Finance”. Do we honestly have any more financial independence, control and empowerment than a hundred years ago? Is it really that we are ”held back” by men, by parenting, by society? Or is it perhaps so that somewhere deep down in the depths of our female nurturing souls we still don’t really believe that we should be running the world? Apart from the career path, akin to the Tour de France with its twists and turns and intertwined with double guilt, we find our minds asking “shouldn’t I be home nurturing my children?” alternating with “shouldn’t I work a few extra hours like the guys do?”
Precious few ladies have really made a legendary success in the business world. There are vignettes of light – Abigail Johnson, of Fidelity Investments, took over from her daddy as CEO of the company. Gina Rinehart of Australian mining fame, whilst she did inherit the business from her father, it was her acumen and drive that took it to where it is today! Janet Yellen, Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States. Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the IMF, once famously said, " When it comes to thinking about women in powerful positions, we are too often blinded by the daggers of the mind, infected by the malignant mind bugs that mire us in the prejudices of the past, “We need a 21st century mentality for women’s economic participation. We need to flush away the flotsam of ingrained gender inequality.” Let’s go back to basics and ask ourselves some questions and be brave enough to provide our own honest answers to each of the hard questions. Furthermore, once you have the answers, you have to act on them and make things happen in your own life.
- Do I have MY own financial plan? Yes, one separate from my husband / partner?
- Could I benefit by having my own financial advisor that recognises MY personal goals for MY life and who will partner with ME to plan and execute on how to build and achieve MY own financial legacy? Or is financial planning one of those things you will get to tomorrow, or leave the planning to someone else? When you think about the answers, dare to wonder what would happen if no one was there to take care of you and provide the financial support that you perhaps enjoy currently? How will you overcome such potential adversity?
Before we can demand the tides of empowerment to change, we need to start with ourselves and empower ourselves with knowledge and a plan and some action!
Watch this space, future articles will focus on topics such as:
- Lifestyle Wealth Planning,
- Identify risks in life and plan for them,
- How much do I need to save for a comfortable retirement?
- Do I need a Will and why?
- How do I plan for my children to be successfully educated – even when I am not around anymore?
- How can I achieve financial wellness?