Saturday, 3 March 2012

Banks banking on Women.. The untapped Figures

'Empowering Women to Empower Women' could have a been a slogan for companies looking to capitalise on the buying and investment power of the female population. Not so long ago, the economic slump threatened to lower the morale of society and throwing us into a state of sub acute depression. Women rose above it with war paint, fashion and luxury skincare.

Understanding the female psychology of buying, investing, budgeting and taking risks became the focus in one of the research conducted by Ledbury Research in partnership with Barclays Bank. It seems that the financial power of women appear to be unharvested and the financial world has asked the question, Why?

There are big differences between earning money, spending money and MAKING money! 

Women are in powerful jobs, part of the market force,  form the market for household consumer goods, cosmetics and fashion industry. Women are also looking to diversify into risk taking occupations but may not necessarily be considered for high powered roles dominated by men. We are seen to be speaking a different language when it comes to finances and our way of dealing with the future of our finances is conservative. 

During the economic slump, the fashion and beauty industry managed to retain their existence and pushing luxury to the masses. Women continued to invest in fashion and cosmetics in order to maintain the aura of 'untouched' by economic crisis in order to 'save face'. It appears that women are capable of re- inventing themselves even during austere times to demonstrate a certain defiance to the economic crisis precipitated by our male counter parts. 

There is obviously  a clear divide between the wealthy and the middle class women, but it is still likely that the way we handle investment strategies  are not too dissimilar. What we choose to invest depends largely on what we feel is 'safe'  and 'unsafe'. Women are less likely to make risky investments such as playing the stock exchange or commodities which could be lucrative. It could well be that we are more interested in long term strategies and prefer to invest in properties or lands. Are we investing with our hearts or our minds? 

The bottom line is that, women need to be educated and granted the opportunity to understand the nature of financial investment, risk taking strategies on a bigger scale and perhaps developing a 'nose' for where money can be made. Household economy is still thought to be the domain of the housewives and women alone, but it is in the household that the demands of consumer goods are made. Women should not just be the target for marketing, they should take the opportunity to recognise the pulse of the market they are buying into. 

Our sources of information come from fashion magazines and tabloids dictating what we should and should not be wearing, encouraging us to part with money as opposed to making it. I believe the responsibility lies with ourselves to step outside our comfort zone, experiment with alternative investments to show ourselves that we are not entirely risk averse. Cautious maybe, averse certainly not! 

So Barclays, if you are reading this, maybe an investment masterclass may not be such a bad idea!

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