Veronica Willis, an investment strategy analyst from Wells Fargo Investment Institute, joins Yahoo Finance’s Adam Shapiro and Seana Smith to discuss her thoughts on the market and financial roadblocks that women face.
SEANA SMITH: Veronica, great to have you on the program. Help us make sense and help us navigate the market’s recent turmoil because I think investors are still trying to wrap around– their heads around the action that we’ve seen lately in the bond market. What’s your reading on the recent moves that we’ve seen in the market and what that means for what’s to come over the next couple of weeks?
VERONICA WILLIS: I think the market is still showing some more volatility because things were changing in Washington, so we’ve got a new administration here. New stimulus package should be coming soon. And with that, we’re going to expect to see some higher interest rates and some higher inflation. And I think that that is making the market a little more volatile. It’s been a while since we’ve seen interest rates at these levels. Inflation has been low for so many years. But we believe that inflation should stay at a low enough level that we are not expecting the Fed to take any action here yet.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Veronica, a lot of the people who come to Yahoo Finance are just like the rest of us. We’re not necessarily financial experts like you, but our 401(k)s or our investments are rather simple. So you have this survey out, the Women in Money survey. And you found some things about Gen X and millennial women that I wanted you to share with us.
Because one of the findings is that Gen X women say they find financial concepts intimidating, 39%. And this is women who are, I guess, in their 40s and 50s, people born after 1964. I just want to share with you that personally, I would think the men don’t want to admit they find it intimidating, whereas the women might be more forthcoming. But what does this say about how we deal with how– we got to plan our retirements.
VERONICA WILLIS: Yes, so like you said, we saw that 39% of those millennial and Gen X women report that they find finances to be an intimidating topic. And I think that’s tied into– we saw, in the survey, 34% of those same women felt like they didn’t learn enough about finances growing up.
And I think that ties into the feeling that finances are intimidating– and the desire to reach out to an advisor for financial advice. And so, more of those millennial and Gen X women are wanting to get financial advice from an advisor, as opposed to the baby boomer traditionalist generation women.
And what’s really interesting in the survey, they have a desire to take charge of the financial education of their children so that their children are not in that same scenario. And so they’re wanting to provide that information for their children so they’re not faced with that anxiety around uncertainty.
SEANA SMITH: Adam, go ahead.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Let me follow up with a simple question for you. We all have friends– you have friends, your girlfriends. What do you say to them when they ask the basic financial questions?
VERONICA WILLIS: Well, a lot– I’m a millennial, and so, in the past, millennials have been very conservative when it comes to investing, especially in the stock market. And so, usually, my conversations are geared towards, get invested. You have to start somewhere, and it’s better to start earlier than later because then you’re giving your assets time to grow. Especially for younger investors, if you’re saving for retirement, no time is better than now to get started.
You can start in something simple, a simple kind of blended benchmark. Many 401(k)s offer target date funds, which I think are a great place to start if you don’t want to get in the business of picking percentages for different types of funds. So, you know, that’s usually, especially for younger investors, where I kind of gear them towards. Get started now. Don’t get started tomorrow. Don’t worry about what you missed yesterday.
SEANA SMITH: Veronica, I just want to jump in here because I only have about a minute left, but the survey also found that I think it was a third of millennials and Gen Xers, women I’m talking about here, are the primary breadwinners. What does that tell us about the economic recovery and what we need to have in mind when we talk about this economic recovery? Because time and time again, we’ve been focusing on the pandemic’s impact specifically on women and more and more women dropping out of the workforce because of the pandemic.
VERONICA WILLIS: I think what this shows is that women are going to play an important role during this economic recovery. As more women are becoming the breadwinners in their family, they’re starting to take charge more of the household finances. And they’re starting to make some changes to how they’re spending and how they’re saving because of the pandemic.
So we saw that seven in 10 women reported making changes to their household finances in response to the uncertainty that the pandemic caused, with about 40% spending less and about 20% saving more. And so, some of that has been geared towards investment, but there has been this move towards saving more. And I think that with women becoming more of a breadwinner, and hopefully more women are able to re-enter the workforce after being displaced due to the pandemic, we can start to really drive this economic recovery.
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