LETTER

Why every day is a good day to talk about money and women

Making financial services more inclusive is what motivates me. Imagine if financial services could actually help everyone live a better life and reach their goals. Imagine if your access to financial tools didn’t depend on how much money you make or who you are. I’ve spent my career working for financial inclusion because of the positive impact these tools can make for everyone—especially for women. 

It’s why joining Mylo was a natural move. Mylo’s social mission is perfectly aligned with my belief that technology and innovation can empower people and that everyone should have an equal opportunity to save toward the life they want.  

It’s also why it’s always important to me to talk about the financial inequality that still exists between men and women in Canada.

Statistics Canada reports that on average, Canadian women aged between 25 and 54 still earn 13.3% less per hour than men. On top of the pay gap, factors like the ‘Motherhood Penalty’ (which even affects non-mothers), the ‘Pink Tax’ (which sees us paying up to 43% more than men do for the same products) and differences in financial attitudes all contribute to an uneven financial playing field for women. 

When it comes to investing, women are investing 40% less money than men, and as a result are missing out on important opportunities to grow their wealth. Mylo’s mission to make investing accessible to everyone means that supporting the unique needs of women is core to our business, starting with an inclusive product. 

Women are demanding. If a product meets women’s needs, it will exceed men’s expectations. And we know that a diverse team gives us the best shot at inclusive products, which is why we’ve worked to ensure strong representation of women across all our teams. 

We’ve also released two International Women’s Day reports in 2018 and 2019, which outlined other initiatives such as the Mylo SRI fund to address women’s investing interests and marketing campaigns that celebrate and empower us. 

We’re proud to see the results of these efforts, including:

  • In 2019, Mylo’s female user base doubled. Women now make up 40% of our total user base, which is 67% higher than the industry benchmark
  • Almost 65% of female Advantage users have opened TFSA accounts through Mylo to benefit from valuable tax savings. 
  • 1 in 2 female Advantage users choose the Mylo Socially Responsible Investing fund to invest according to their values.
  • Mylo women save faster towards their goals. They reach their savings goals 2 weeks earlier than men do because they contribute more aggressively and more frequently to their financial goals.
  • 1 in 4 Mylo women have an emergency fund goal to help ensure their own financial security in the event of unexpected financial situations. Having 3-6 months of living expenses accessible in the event of an unplanned emergency is a critical step in achieving good financial health.
  • Mylo women save more of their disposable income than men.
    On average, Mylo men and women contribute a similar percentage of their income to their Mylo investment account, but when you consider that women earn less and have higher expenses (see gender pay gap and Pink Tax), women are likely putting aside more of their disposable income. 

While these are all great signals and evidence that we’re making progress, there’s still a lot of work to be done. In 2020 and beyond, we’re committed to adapting our product experience to address the distinct needs of women, promoting internal diversity, and increasing financial literacy with our magazine and our monthly newsletters. 

We’re also going beyond saving and investing by developing new products to address issues we’ve identified as especially relevant to women, such as a lack of access to financial advice and debt management.

Finally, we’re asking the entire Mylo community to join us in our mission by doing one simple thing.

Talk.

Talk about making money.

Talking about money has long been taboo, but new evidence is showing how impactful it can be to share information about how much money you make. Discussing this more openly with friends and coworkers can help you to understand your worth and highlight any gaps to tackle. This kind of transparency is a personal decision but the payoff could be huge. It could help you get paid what you deserve, or be an ally to others. 

In fact, a 2019 study by Stats Canada showed that pay transparency laws contributed to a 30% reduction in the gender wage gap.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to talk about your salary with your boss. And if you think your pay doesn’t reflect your value in the market, particularly in relation to your male peers, then ask for a raise. Here’s an article to help you do it.

Talk about money in general.

Turn money into a regular conversation topic, particularly with other women. Smart women know other smart women. Ask them how they manage their money, or if they have any tips and tricks to share. Talk to each other about any financial struggles or worries you’re having, and brainstorm strategies to overcome them. Share your favourite financial books, blogs or podcasts. Find a friend in a similar situation and become accountability buddies. 

Talking is also the way we track progress, so take the time to have a conversation with someone from a previous generation, like your mother or grandmother. Although things have changed, they probably have some words of wisdom that still apply. 

There’s a lot we can learn from each other if we just take the time to chat.

Pro tip: If you have a partner, talking about money is critical to ensure you’re on the same page and have an equal say in key financial decisions. This can help you get the conversation started. 

Talk about your goals.

Having something tangible to save towards will keep you motivated and on track. My advice?  The more personal, the better. You’ll find it easier to save and invest money towards a goal that means something to you, like a much-needed vacation or your first home.

Once you’ve set some goals, talk about them. Discuss what you’re saving towards, how you’re saving towards them and then celebrate when you achieve them!

You could even set joint goals. You’re more likely to save towards that Mexico trip if your friends are saving right alongside you. 

And don’t be afraid to dream big. Our 2019 International Women’s Day report showed that women set financial goals 42% lower than men. Encourage each other to aim high and cheer each other on until you get there. 

Pro tip: Want to get there effortlessly? Mylo is a goal-based platform that automatically rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change towards your goals. 

And to celebrate International Women’s Day and encourage women to begin investing, we’re offering new users $10 towards their financial goals. Simply create a new Mylo investment account before April 8, 2020 and use the promo code IWD2020.

Happy investing!

Jennifer McDonald
Chief Operating Officer, Mylo

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Jennifer McDonald is Chief Operating Officer at Mylo. For over 20 years, she has used her expertise in banking, women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion to help over 1.2 million people access bank accounts, many for the first time. Jennifer has worked in 22 countries to develop banking products for women, from mobile savings accounts in Nigeria, Malawi, and Tanzania to loans for women-led businesses in Kenya. Ultimately, she believes that technology and innovation can help people save, invest and increase their financial security.