Salary, savings and retirement. Women have less of everything, they need to learn how to invest, says Hlavs

Czech women receive a lower salary, work fewer years, have no such savings and depend much longer on a pension which is on average seventeen percent lower than that of men. And they invest much less often. Eva Hlavsová, who is behind investment startup Fondee, wants to overcome Czech women’s aversion to investing.

The Internet platform Fondee was founded by Mr. and Mrs. Hlavs two years ago, and its aim is that anyone interested can invest their money in stocks and bonds. A regular investment can easily be as little as a thousand crowns per month.

J&T Banka and a group of private investors around Leoš Navrátil, who has been investing in capital markets for more than twenty years, have already poured more than thirty-five million crowns into the platform.

Nine thousand clients to whom Fondee currently manages the entrusted money prove that this project is viable. But only twenty-six percent of them are women, which, according to Eva Hlavsová, also replicates the situation throughout the company.

Why are there so few women among investors?

We asked ourselves this question, so we did a survey and found that women who do not invest say in 45% of cases that it is because they do not understand it and do not believe in it. But when we look at the knowledge results of the investment questionnaire filled out by our clients, men and women are in exactly the same situation.

So what is the difference?

They don’t believe themselves. In the questionnaire, we ask if the investor has a degree in investment and finance, if he works in this field, if he has undergone training or if he does not have such experience. And the same percentage of men and women tell us that they have no such experience. But the difference is that men are more likely to add that they gained experience when they started investing.

And this is very important to us. The fact that men are more confident is because they have tried it before and know how it works. When women are no longer afraid to start, we will talk about it more, they will know that they are like men, the barrier that is there will be broken.

But there is another problem. And it is that 82% of women think that to invest, they must understand market developments. That’s a terribly high number.

And must?

I don’t think so, because there are a lot of studies that show that when you invest in a long-term and ideally diversified way, it is not necessary. It is ideal to set up a standing order and no matter what happens in the markets, you make money in the long run.

Conversely, men who think they understand investing try to monitor, predict, and often buy and sell accordingly. As a result, they more often find themselves in a situation where they make a mistake and as a result, they are only stealing the return that they could have if they let their investments go without reaching them.

This does not mean that it is not necessary to have financial knowledge. But there’s a big difference between financial literacy, which everyone should have, and the ability to understand what’s going on in the markets.

What about savings?

It’s better than doing nothing, but today, more than ever, inflation shows that saving five cents a month doesn’t make sense, because the income from those savings will swallow up inflation over time. years. Investing is the only way to take care of old age.


But even here, the sooner you start investing, the better. Even if it’s small amounts. Thanks to the compound interest effect, you can have a decent return at the end. While my husband and I lived and worked in England, we saw firsthand that as soon as a person went to work, they decided which investment fund to send five to ten percent of their salary to.

How do women who invest via Fondee behave?

Compared to men, our clients have an initial deposit and regular monthly payments that are about thirty percent lower. It will probably be because they earn less and have less money to invest. Then, the differences between the sexes are no longer significant.

The men and women of our clients are on average thirty-five years old, invest over a 15-year horizon and choose the same type of portfolio on a seven-point risk scale, which consists of 71% equities, 27 % bond and two percent are cash.

What are their returns?

For equity portfolios, the annual appreciation over the last twelve years is on average 9%. For the more conservative ones, which are mainly government bonds and partly also corporate bonds and very few equities, it is around 3 to 3.5%.

How do you want to persuade women to invest?

We know that women build barriers in their heads about why not to invest, and we want to prepare a solution for them that will inspire them to actively take care of their money. This will be a five-step challenge that we want to start communicating.

What are the steps?

In the first point, he must map the current finances. Revenues and expenditures. Tell yourself what they do with the money they don’t spend. Whether they have it in their account or whether they have it in an envelope at home.

The second point is to create a financial cushion of at least six monthly salaries. The third stage is planning, when you have to realize what my plans are for one year, five or ten years, for retirement. When do I plan to buy an apartment, how will I finance it, how and for what I want to support my children during my studies…

And then comes the investment?

Yes, ideally depending on my time horizon and what I want to achieve. Then I choose a type of investment, look at how it has developed in the past, what it consists of, what the declines have been and how risky it is. It depends, for example, on whether I’m okay with my investment going down twenty percent, but going back up in five years. If I can bear it.

And the fifth point?

It may not seem like it, but it’s very important. It’s because we need to talk a lot more about money and investment. The big problem here is that we were brought up in an atmosphere where money is not discussed.

It has to change, but not in the sense that I will say how much I earn, but in the spirit that we will have to talk to our friends quite normally about who invests where, how does it work, what are the worries, how does it come out who burned where…

You are not alone in this activity. Isn’t more women just can’t be persuaded to invest?

In the first year of our operation in 2020, we had a twenty percent customer ratio. Now it’s six percent higher, so you can see the persuasion and education are working. For example, we collaborate with Eva Řeháková and her Investing for Girls project, or with Eva Parke, who is behind the Girls in the Crypt platform. And there are others.

We are in contact within this community, we think about it together and we want to pull ourselves together. We all want Czech women to be more financially independent and therefore more satisfied.

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