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There's a ‘hidden pandemic’ in women’s financial wellness: Ellevest CEO

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Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO of Ellevest, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss financial wellness for women.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: A new study by Ellevest finds that financial stress can indeed impact your health and your well-being. Here to break down the findings and help us all have a healthier relationship with our money is Ellevest co-founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck.

Sallie, so good to see you again. It's been a while. I made my way through this report and found some of these findings to be rather enlightening. And I want to start with gender differences because according to your survey, money is women's number one source of stress. Tell us why.

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Number one source of stress, probably because we have less of it than men do, probably because while we talk so much about the gender pay gap at $0.82 to a white man's dollar, the wealth gap is at $0.32 to a white man's dollar, and for Black women, it's a penny. It was actually going in the wrong direction before the pandemic and went further in the wrong direction.

So no wonder 2/3 of women worry about money at least once a week. Half of women say it's negatively impacted their emotional and mental health. And 40% of women say that it's made them physically ill. So, in fact, what we have here is a hidden pandemic. It's a second pandemic.

KARINA MITCHELL: And I was struck by the fact that, obviously, you say that there's a gender gap. 36% of women, so more than one in three, think about financial issues on a daily basis, compared to 28% of men. But I was really struck by the confidence gap that you say exists. Can you explain that?

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Well, you know, you always hear that. You hear women aren't as confident about money or risk averse when it comes to money, aren't as good investors as men. And none of these things are actually true. Women have about the same financial knowledge as men. But you have a lifetime of messages that women internalize that they are risk averse, that money isn't for them.

They watch their mom coupon clipping invest. They see coupon clipping save. They watch dad invest. Something like 92% of articles written to women about money are negative, where 70% of articles written to men about money are positive. So it comes out from all sides. And then they have less money than men, so they say, yeah, there it is. I'm not good at it because everybody tells me I have less. Totally my fault. I feel sick.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Right, so it becomes, like, this self-fulfilling prophecy. So tell us, Sallie. You're great with helping us find real world ways we can change the situation. If you want to have financial wellness in your life, what are some steps, women in particular, can start to make today?

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Well, one that's a pretty easy step is 40 plus percent of women feel better about money if they simply talk about it. And it's interesting, we love to communicate and engage with on every topic, but we are much more likely to talk to our friends about sex and our own death than money. So if we can begin to have the conversations.

And the second thing is, it isn't so tough. Financial wellness isn't financial independence. It really is stepping back. What do you have? Where are you going? Do you have a budget? Do you have a plan? Do you feel good about it? And of course, we at Ellevest, if you come over to ellevest.com, have any number of resources that are there to help women, non-binary individuals, women plus to be more successful with their money.

KARINA MITCHELL: And tell us what are some of the things specifically that Ellevest is doing in that regard for women.

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Yeah, we are providing all kinds of education and recognizing that investing, for example, can be different for men and women than we alone have in our investing algorithm a gender awareness. It doesn't matter as much if you're a man, but it matters a lot if you're a woman because you earn less, because your salary peaks sooner, because you take more career breaks, because you live longer. So you have to invest differently in order to achieve the same goals. And Ellevest works that in, as well as recognizing those things and providing the tools and the education to help her move forward.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And I just want to pivot in this conversation for a minute, but still stick with women and talk about women in leadership positions within S&P 500, Fortune 500 companies. Sallie, are you seeing that even through your lens at what you do at Ellevest? Is that starting to improve?

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: A little bit, a little bit. You know, we are-- we'll see so and so has become the CEO of such and such. And the number is now a record. Not very good, but a record. Look, the problem is we face systemic issues. We face underlying issues. The gender pay gap starts when women have that first baby because not every woman has got paid parental leave, so she's more likely to leave the workforce if she's not feeling well, if the baby is not well, if she wants to be with that baby.

But even if she does take that leave, she gets put on the mommy track. And so until we have parental leave for all genders, sick leave for people who need it, leave if you have a miscarriage, if you have to have some parental care, you know, for your parents, until we make those things equal and recognize that they are not costs, they are investments, only then can we really get to really begin to move towards equality. Otherwise, it's one or two steps forward, not big jumps forward.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, always good to have you on. Thanks so much.

SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Thank you. Good to be.

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