Women and the One Percent: What’s a Woman Got to Do?

By Michelle Connell, CFA | 5 min read

It’s 2019, and while women have made great strides toward equality throughout history, the most probable path for a woman to become a member of the elite one percent economic status remains marriage. How can this be?

According to a recent survey published in American Sociological Review, women have not made any progress in obtaining the one percent economic status through their own efforts in the past 20 years! Research has determined that women are 84 percent “less likely than men to have a personal one percent (income) status.” In only one of 20 elite households is a woman’s income sufficient to reach the one percent status. So, without mincing words, marriage continues to be a woman’s best chance to be a member of the highest income bracket.

The fact that women are failing to make progress in becoming part of the one percent in their own right means that their impact on our economy and society remains very small — some would even say insignificant — while men continue to weld the power and influence. We see this play out not only in the fact that women rarely achieve one percent status on their own, but also in the gender pay gap. Today, women are paid an average of 17 percent less than men for equivalent work and this is somehow justified because women “shoulder more of the family burden” than men.

How can a woman change the trajectory of her future for herself and her children when she doesn’t have means of doing so?

These facts are troubling for a number of reasons. Not only in the inequality and gender pay gap, but the fact that on average, women live five years longer than men. Even in marriage, women mustn’t take a back seat when it comes to their financial futures. Shockingly, more than 50 percent of women know absolutely nothing when it comes to retirement income — including how much income is needed for retirement.

Considering also that at least 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and that women are less likely to get remarried than men, it is absolutely imperative that every woman play an active role in financial planning for her future.

Here are five reasons I encourage every woman to have her own investments:

  • Investing is a skill
  • Returns will be higher
  • Investing can help level the playing field
  • Owning assets is empowering
  • There are no unpleasant surprises

While there is no doubt that marriage and raising children are both fulfilling, a woman shouldn’t be dependent on someone else to determine her destiny. As more women attain the exclusive one percent income status for themselves, they will ensure that the economy and society reflect their values and their dreams for future generations.

Portia Capital Management is committed to empowering women to take control of their own destinies through investments. Don’t rely on a man to secure your future. Contact us today to learn how we can create a personalized solution to help you secure your future with more consistent returns and greater portfolio protection.

About the Author
Michelle Connell, CFA is the President and Owner of Portia Capital Management, LLC., the only registered investment management firm in the Dallas/Fort Worth area owned by a female Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). The CFA designation is considered the highest designation in the investment management profession, and fewer than three percent of all CFAs in Texas are women. Ms. Connell is also one of highest-rated finance professors in the United States, currently serving as an adjunct professor at The University of Texas and instructing CFA candidates through the CFA DFW Society. For her clients —  including the underserved markets charities, foundations and high-net worth women — Ms. Connell crafts personalized solutions that include conventional products as well as rare access to alternative assets, including private equity, private debt and real estate, and allows investment portfolio creation with greater downside protection and more consistent returns. Through her philanthropic initiative, “Portia’s Children,” 10 percent of the firm’s profits are donated to charities working to improve the lives of children of single-parent homes.

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