We are big Swifties here at Ellevest. And never more so than when we saw the press last week that Taylor sidestepped the crypto debacle — and the resulting litigation in its aftermath — by saying no to a $100 million agreement to promote the digital currency.
How did she do this?
She asked the right questions. When other celebrities did not.
Our girl Taylor has thus demonstrated what we mean when we note that women are not risk-averse (as a musical entrepreneur, Taylor takes on plenty of business and creative risks); but instead, we tend to be risk-aware. We’re more likely to ask the tough questions, and we’re more likely to ask about potential downsides that could harm us down the road. This can help us take smarter risks and avoid financial fads: Not for nothing, women outperform men when they invest.
Building a strong foundation
To start, the other thought that this raises for me is how we pass along financial confidence to our kids. One way is through financial education: Taylor likely had a step up here, since her dad is a financial advisor. (Small world, he was a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch when I ran that company. And, no, I cannot get us all tickets.) But you don’t have to know what an unregistered security is (which is the question Taylor raised around crypto) to benefit from some financial education. Most of us just need help finding out where to start.
There’s something in the water, because I spoke to Barron’s last week on exactly this topic. I argued that we should strive to model a healthy money mindset for our kids. This includes actively pushing back against stereotypes that suggest women are bad at managing finances and, instead, show our kids that these silly notions simply aren’t true or helpful.
Case in point: Deloris Jordan. As the story goes, Nike’s initial contract would grant Michael (yes, that Michael … and — also small world — I went to college with him) a sizable amount of cash for a limited time, but there was no talk of any residual revenue, regardless of how well the shoe (or her son) performed. His mother noticed this, and she made a phone call to counter the initial offer. This, at a time when women had just earned the right to apply for credit in their name. (Today, his royalties yield $400 million a year.) Her persistence changed the course of sports history.
She strategized; she asked tough questions; she thought about the future (more specifically, her son’s future).
Asking the right questions
What if you missed the financial education boat as a kid? What if, like for so many of us, money was a taboo topic in your household? Or what if you have internalized the messages that women are constantly being sent, that we’re not good with money, that our money issues are because we’re spendthrifts, and that investing is unapproachable for us?
Ellevest has you covered. Here's how:
Book a 30-minute call with an Ellevest CFP® pro (aka financial planner) to talk about your money with someone who understands your goals.
Address unhelpful stereotypes and take a closer look at all your debts with our team of experts. (This is the kind of multitasking we can really get behind.)
Learn how to ask Taylor Swift-level questions in our Investing, Part 1: How It All Works workshop.
Money matters affect everyone. And the barriers that are stacked against women shouldn’t keep us from securing our futures –– and the futures of those that we love. It may take a shift in our core beliefs to begin undoing much of the harm that’s been done. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Here’s to asking more questions, together.