Women, Money and Confidence
Some time ago I was reading an article from Investment Advisor Magazine that discussed a book “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance-What Women Should Know.” Katty Kay of BBC World News America and Claire Shipman an ABC News correspondent are the authors of the book.
The article was written in August 2014., the book was written April of 2014. I have had the article stacked away with the thought of writing an excerpt of the article and others like it.
The following is my cliff notes version of the articles. I hope to not offend or sound sexist. I wanted to point out what the study found and the similarities of what I have experienced over my career as an investment broker and advisor.
In recent years, banks, brokerage firms and mutual fund companies have gone to great lengths to make women more confident about money. This has been prompted by surveys detailing women’s feelings of helplessness around money management, discomfort with investing and a heightened aversion to risk.
For some time now, many financial institutions have worked hard to educate women and help them become more confident about money. Further research shows the financial literacy gap is not shrinking and may even be growing.
With that said, it does not mean that women lack a gene for finance. There are many women who hold high offices such as Janet Yellen did as Chair of the Federal Reserve, Christine Legarde past French Finance Minister and head of the International Monetary Fund and Angela Merkel run’s Europe’s most successful economy.
The two famous ladies the article covers, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, both found a sense of a persistent “confidence gap” between women and men.
Their research showed many successful women repeatedly stated that they felt like frauds or that they obtained their position or success by sheer luck.
They cited a study by Carnegie Mellon economics professor Linda Babcock, that had determined men would initiate salary negotiations four times as often as women do. In addition, another study found that male business students thought they deserved $80,000 a year in income where women students thought they deserved $60,000 per year.
Based upon the findings, women believe they are 25% less valuable than men. The authors of the book questioned if this is the reason women earn 23% less than men.
Men often demonstrate confidence in the workplace with high octane confrontation, quick decisions, a drive to win and a disregard of risk. This behavior is wholly unappealing and foreign to women. Most women are not comfortable thumping their chest and blowing their own horn.
Confidence can be described as purity of action produced by a mind free of doubt. Also, confidence is the belief you can accomplish the task you have at hand. Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.
Conversely, lack of confidence leads to inaction- no matter how smart or well-prepared one may be. This is the challenge many women need to overcome.
There is much more to this subject. I will blog more about the subject and in the end, present the 12 ways to build authentic confidence from the aforementioned book.
Corey N. Callaway
Investment Advisor Representative