Financial Literacy is Not Enough

Every month our co-founders, Janine Firpo and Ellen Remmer, share their thoughts on a range of topics, some specific to Invest for Better and some not. These ‘opening letters’ are part of our e-newsletters and they provide a great glimpse into the happenings of our organization and larger community.

Letter from Janine Firpo
April 26, 2023


Dear friends,

This month, the American Bankers Association and others are celebrating National Financial Literacy Month. Financial literacy is defined as the “ability to understand the basic principles of finance, such as budgeting, investing, borrowing, taxation, and personal financial management. Although the word investing is included in the definition, it often gets short shrift when it comes to financial education. This is particularly true of the information provided to women. They are taught the basics, but then we drop the ball. Not only do we expect women to learn the more subtle art of investing on their own, our society tries to dissuade them from trying. 65% of finance articles written for women suggest that financial planning is difficult, yet 75% of features written for men tell them how to invest and grow their wealth.

Women are ready for something more. According to a 2021 study from Fidelity, 67% are now investing outside of retirement – compared to only 44% in 2018. And, 63% want to increase their understanding of financial planning and investing. Yet, only 33% see themselves as investors and only 19% see themselves as feeling confident enough to select investments that align with their goals. Doesn’t that feel like a bit of a disconnect to you? It means that half the women who are investing and want to learn more don’t even see themselves as investors and lack confidence in their financial abilities. We think that needs to change.

In addition, research shows that women are deeply concerned about the purpose of money and want it to have meaning beyond taking care of their financial needs and growing their wealth. As we strive to provide women with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in investing, we must also recognize the importance of purpose-driven financial literacy and help women invest in a way that aligns with their values and goals.

As we celebrate Financial Literacy Month, let’s think beyond the basics and start imagining how we can provide women with the deep investment knowledge to create true prosperity for themselves and the broader world.