From the days of our grandmothers to the arrival of our granddaughters, demographic, economic, and technological shifts have fundamentally altered the foundations of economic prosperity for families. Women now hold more than half the wealth in the U.S., making them more important to economic vitality than ever before. Despite their increased share of wallet, women tell us that they are still looking for financial institutions to serve them in more meaningful ways, and we are listening.
Click here to see the full infographic outlining the trends that have altered the financial journey from adulthood to retirement for the female consumer.
While basic customization efforts have been made, the feedback we hear from women highlights the need for us to do much more. In a recent brainstorming session hosted by Citi Ventures, women voiced concerns about the lack of tools to optimize savings and investing decisions along with their need for guidance on how to navigate unpredictable life events, such as divorce. They are looking for tailored services in areas spanning investing for retirement, business ownership, real estate pooling, and estate planning. Perhaps most importantly, our female clients are hindered by the emergence of the “Sandwich Generation,” in which 47 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s care for a senior parent and simultaneously support a child or young adult. Women often bear the brunt of this work, which can affect their ability to earn and retire.
These pain points, reinforced by data showing that only 55 percent of women feel confident about retiring comfortably, present a clear opportunity for financial institutions to create new offerings designed to meet the needs of female clients, thereby strengthening our relationships with women, and also helping them achieve and maintain greater financial independence.
As we discover new approaches to serving women through client validation, there are lessons we can learn from fintech startups – specifically how they aim to create more client-centric financial services offerings. Over the last few years, countless fintech startups have launched, some that specifically address the pain points our female customers describe.
Woomentum, for example, focuses on the female entrepreneurs’ need to connect with like-minded mentors who can guide them through the challenges of starting a business. Similarly, SupportPay aims to ease the financial burden of divorce, creating a helpful solution for women to manage child support payments. Ellevest not only gives investing advice specific to women, it even tailors advice to their individual goals.
The lessons here are not only what kinds of new solutions these fintech startups are choosing to provide but also how they’re going about it. They’re laser-focused on understanding and addressing core pain points. They pursue rapid experimentation, validation and iteration to learn as much as they can, as quickly as possible. Finally, they’re obsessed with creating a user experience that will delight their users and keep them coming back.
The first step in moving beyond pink-packaging and building products for new family structures is to fully understand the needs of our female clients. Whether that’s pinpointing life milestones when financial help is needed most or determining the varying financial concerns each generation faces, by opening the lines of communication through a test and validation process, we can better understand the unique challenges and build solutions that support women throughout their financial lives.
In adopting this startup approach, we can help women navigate the modern-day life events that are impacting their finances – from divorce expenses, to funding their children’s education, to caring for an elderly parent – paving the way for greater financial stability and economic success.
Equipping women with the right tools to achieve full financial freedom is not just the right thing to do, it is good for business. Women and the value they represent are too important to ignore. It’s time to bank on the power of women.