But women of color—specifically Black and Latina women—who are among the economically privileged in the U.S. are nevertheless more confident in their abilities as investors than their white female peers.
According to a new survey by JPMorgan Wealth Management, shared exclusively with Fortune, wealthy Black and Latina women take more action with their finances than white women. The division in October surveyed 1,375 women investors, 779 of whom identified as white and 596 of whom identified as Black or Latina; all the women surveyed had investable asset levels of at least $150,000 and primary or shared responsibility for their households’ financial decisions.
Seventy-five percent of the women of color surveyed said they felt confident about their financial goals in the year ahead, compared to only 50% of white women. Seventy-eight percent at least in part developed their financial know-how through their own research, like online educational resources or TV shows; only 47% of white women did the same.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, affluent women of color have continued to show that same bold approach to their finances. Nineteen percent capitalized on market volatilities as investors and traders, while just 5% of white women did.
Wealthy Black and Latina women, it seems, have built this confidence as financial decision-makers without much help from the financial services sector. Twenty-one percent of the women of color surveyed said that when they started to invest, the available financial services either failed to meet their needs or led to a bad experience. The respondents didn’t specify whether those failures were due to the financial offerings themselves, a situation involving negative or racist treatment by a financial adviser, or something else. Fifty-five percent of the women of color agreed that investing is more challenging for people of their race.
JPMorgan undertook this research to learn how to better meet the needs of affluent women of color who come to its wealth management team, said Kelli Keough, head of digital and client solutions for JPMorgan Wealth Management. Keough adds that the bank believes that understanding racial and gender dynamics among the wealthy provides insight into broader societal issues like closing the staggering racial wealth gap.
So far, the bank has identified one key way to improve. Black and Latina women are more interested in how their wealth can support their families—and traditional services that focus largely on retirement savings are not what these investors are looking for.
To explain that difference, Keough cites some societal data that looks far beyond the small cohort of the affluent who were the focus of this study. The average Black family has $13 in wealth for every $100 held by a white family, Keough says. When it comes to investing, only 33% of Black households own any stocks, compared to 61% of white households.
As part of racial groups that have faced a historic wealth gap, are Black and Latina women more determined to take action to secure their financial futures than white women are? Are affluent women of color less likely to have other members of their extended families with similar levels of wealth, and thus more focused on family? Are wealthy white women, often part of families that include wealthy white men, playing it safe and leaving the risk-taking to their husbands, fathers, and brothers?
Keough said that JPMorgan is interested in doing further research to answer these questions. One definite conclusion of this research, though, is the importance of early-in-life financial education in building the habits that help affluent Black and Latina women feel confident as investors. Eighty-four percent of Black and Latina women surveyed had savings or investment accounts established for them as children, compared to 78% of white women. Sixty-one percent of the women of color said conversations about the importance of investing were part of their upbringing; 55% of white women said the same.
“They’re taking control,” Keough says of women of color, “even though they’re saying the investing world is challenging.”
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