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Free tools teaching girls to invest could help close wealth gap

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 13:05:01-04

BREMERTON, WA. — Only 26% of women are investing, compared with 71% of men, but a new report by Fidelity found the pandemic has inspired more young women to change that statistic.

Experts predict investing early could one day help close the wealth gap between men and women. Free technology is now helping girls to invest at an early age and how every family can get involved.

To Ianthe Spaulding, talking about investing with her 10-year-old daughter is the most important conversation they can have.

“I wanted Naima to have wealth,” said Spaulding.

Because wealth, to Ianthe, is her daughter’s door to freedom.

“The biggest thing is not having to ask for permission from anybody,” said Spaulding of what she dreams for, for her daughter.

That financial independence is something this mom had to fight for on her own.

“I know what it's like to be left with financial baggage, and so that feeling, I never want her to feel that,” said Spaulding.

Ianthe researched how to set her daughter up for success. She found an app, called stockpile, that helps families with children learn to invest.

“She was able to pick her own stocks, she executes her trades on her own,” said Spaulding.

“I like to invest in the stuff that I use and play on,” said Naima.

They started with just a few dollars and bought partial stock in several big companies. Each trade is teaching Naima to save for the future she wants.

“You could save a lot by investing, and it's really easy,” said Naima.

Easy because her portfolio is at her fingertips. Apps like Ellevest, Clever Girl Finance and Stockpile all offer free tools for young women to start investing—for as little as $1.

Ellevest and Clever Girl Finance are designed specifically with girls in mind, but Stockpile encourages both young girls and boys to start learning financial literacy.

“The big key thing is that we want to make sure that everyone has equal financial opportunity. And that only happens when you create generations of financial literacy and knowledge,” said Victor Wang, the CEO of Stockpile.

Wang said this technology can help close the gender wealth gap. In America, women own only 32 cents on the dollar compared to men, but Victor knows that can change.

“You don't have to have $3,000 to buy Amazon. You can have $5 and start investing,” said Wang. “If one person starts, that creates a pattern of wealth and literacy that changes the whole history and lineage of families.”

Those patterns are starting to change. Fidelity’s 2021 Women and Investing study found 50% of women are more interested in investing now than they were before the pandemic and 1 in 5 women made first-time investments in just the last year.

“The thing that's ironic is that statistically, women perform better when investing than men. They're typically look at longer-term investing, they invest more regularly. So when you look at kind of the overall, study after study shows women are more successful than men,” said Wang.

So, Wang hopes, no matter how big or small the investment is, that parents will help their kids just start.

“It's not so much that kids are going to make a lot of money or not. The most important thing is that it creates a conversation between kids and parents,” said Wang.

“Investing does give that average person a vehicle to be able to start their own personal wealth. You don't really realize that it's attainable for you,” said Spaulding. “You think that people are born into it, but we can also create it ourselves. And that's what I really want to attempt to do.”

If you’d like more information on Stockpile, click HERE.