The Bag Lady Syndrome

                  One day I was driving to work and came to red light, as I was looked up I saw a homeless lady on my right ... the light turns green.. and immediately thought, “Oh no I need to hurry and get to work.” As I was driving the rest of the way,  I kept thinking about the financial choices this lady had in her life and perhaps the lack of financial literacy she had experienced.  I knew that as a financial advisor, I had all the tools I needed in my financial toolkit to avoid suffering the same outcome this poor lady had endured.  However, I couldn’t shake the fear that so many of us are just a few key decisions away from ending up in the same situation. 

                  Later that day we were on team conference call talking to a woman who coaches female financial advisors.  She shared something she had discovered in working with female advisors and their clients.  She said the most common financial fear among female clients is losing it all and becoming a bag lady.  This literally blew my mind as it was something I had just thought about that morning.  I decided to start asking my clients the same questions and over and over the same responses came out,

“I don’t want to be homeless”

“I don’t want to live under a bridge”

“I don’t want to be a bag lady.” 

I think the biggest reason women have this fear is because the financial industry has never provided financial literacy in the language women understand.  Women think in terms of life goals not in terms of portfolio returns.  They think about how everything is intertwined, car, kids, house, weddings, retirement, etc...

The financial Industry talks about how the standard deviation of a portfolio coincides with blah, blah, blah, a woman looks at this and says what does standard deviation have to do with paying for my daughter’s wedding?  This is why we formed the Women’s Education and Leadership League to help bring financial literacy to women in the language they speak so they don’t have to be afraid of becoming a bag lady. 

Read More

Because My Why was Bigger than My How


Get Involved and Join The Movement >