When speaking with Alice Finn about her new book Smart Women Love Money –a call to action for women to get serious about investing—the conversation inevitably touched on the gender wage gap, a big obstacle that can undermine many women’s financial security.
“It’s absolutely right that women face different life paths that lead us to less money to invest,” Finn says. She noted that women are more likely to take time off to care for a loved one, work in lower-paying fields, experience gender discrimination in the office, or choose to be single parents. Women also generally live longer than men, so they need more money for retirement.
“The reality of having so much less is a life-altering burden,” says Finn, a wealth management expert and CEO of PowerHouse Assets LLC. It’s also an immutable one, at least for now, even though women have the edge over men since roughly 60 percent of all college graduates are women. No matter how much discretionary income a woman may have, Finn’s book is intended to help women become smart about investing and more important, independent about managing their money.
“It’s more important to get money working for us,” she said. “I consider investing the final frontier of feminism.” She hopes the book encourages women to get more engaged in their investments instead of blindly handing off the responsibility to a husband or financial advisor.
“We are doing so much to juggle so much in our lives, and we think, ‘This is something I can delegate to someone else’ or, even worse, we never get to it. That’s detrimental to your future,” she says. “When you get money working for you, you can use it to support all other goals in your life.”
The core of Finn’s book is five simple rules that help strip away the belief that investing is too complex. (She offers plenty of financial industry surveys that reveal women’s discomfort with the subject.) While the book targets female readers, the five rules apply to everyone.
- Invest in stocks for the long run.
- Allocate your assets.
- Implement using index funds.
- Rebalance regularly.
- Keep fees low.
Each rule gets one chapter divided up into bite-sized sections with easy-to-read charts and definitions of investing jargon. She uses anecdotes from friends or clients—usually women—to illustrate concepts and to make the book more accessible.
Finn usually avoids getting too caught up in each rule. “I could have gone deeper,” she says, “but I didn’t want to go too much into the weeds so people can remember what I was saying.”
Her book concludes by offering advice on how to get started with an investment plan, which involves taking stock of one's assets, consolidating them and dealing with other financial priorities like paying off debt. She offers advice and a set of questions to ask potential advisors. (Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy of those questions.)
“We all learn about investing as adults, so we don’t feel comfortable not knowing so little about something,” she says. “But you’re not stupid; you just don’t know this yet.”
She wants her book to change that.