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Barbara Stewart

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Barbara is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a leading global researcher in the area of women and finance, and she does large commissioned research projects for major financial institutions around the world.

Barbara is the author of the Rich Thinking® series of white papers and since 2010 has interviewed over 1,000 smart women and men globally. She is a columnist for the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor and her regular monthly column, Portfolio Confidential, appears in Canadian MoneySaver magazine. Barbara’s presentations to global banks, investment firms, stock exchanges, financial communities and academic institutions include the following topics:

Planning for a Post-Pandemic Non-Retirement

None of us predicted or planned for a pandemic! Even if we had a solid financial plan in place, chances are good that we now need to adjust it to accommodate a new worst case scenario or two. I’ll discuss my advice about how to make sense of your financial situation…but the best financial defense? Play offense, and don’t retire. We are on the cusp of an incredible opportunity for investors. Post pandemic, the businesses we create and the investments we make will have major implications for both the make-up and activity of public and private markets as well as the data set for investing behaviour. What is your post pandemic strategy? What must happen for your non-retirement to be successful? How will you define success from a financial perspective?

Suddenly Single

Most of us grew up with a fairy tale assumption……that we would get married for life, buy a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, those stories aren’t serving us well from the perspective of financial competence. If you knew for sure that there was a 90% chance that you would end up single at some point within the next 30 years, would you plan for this?

My calculation is that 90% of married women will end up needing to manage their own finances at some point due to divorce or widowhood. The numbers don’t lie: they reflect reality. So why is there still such a stigma around planning to be single? We need to change the narrative! What if we were to assume that every one of us is likely to become single one day and we all talk about this scenario as part of prudent financial planning and investment management? Talk about life and love in the context of overall financial planning. Whether we choose to talk about this with our friends, our advisors, or ourselves. I’ve got some ideas as to how we can make this happen! I’ll share some of my key insights that I’ve learned through my global research in the area of women and finance.

Smart Women and Risk-Taking

The financial landscape has been evolving, with women taking more and more of a role in both the industry and in managing family finances. The industry has its own preconceived notions about what women’s financial goals and risk tolerance are, but those notions are often incorrect. Based on the findings from my decade plus Rich Thinking® research, I will illuminate the true objectives sought by women, and discuss how women perceive risk in their investment portfolios.

Smart Women: Big Ideas

What is the biggest idea you have ever had in your life? Where did you get that idea, what did you do with it, how did you invest in it, and what ended up happening?

I asked 55 women around the world these questions and my findings were exciting! I will discuss the implications of this research for the investment industry. The bottom line? The investment industry needs to put Big Ideas first on our list of topics to discuss with clients and potential clients. Women are getting these ideas all the time, and in most cases need to finance them, fund them in size, and do it yesterday. I will share what women want in terms of financial services and communication and highlight some of the most progressive models today in the women and wealth space.

How Smart Women Manage Their Money

In today’s world, every business is a digital business, every industry is the financial industry, and every job requires financial knowledge. Financial knowledge allows women to move towards meaningful work in any field that they choose. Women are boldly venturing into the world of finance using a combination of analytics, problem-solving capabilities, risk-awareness, intuitive thinking, relationship skills and creativity. They are building careers that are in line with their values. As part of my research, I interviewed over 50 accomplished women around the world to uncover three dominant styles in how smart women manage their money. Some women are more structured and disciplined in their approach to their finances, some are highly knowledgeable and strategic about investing, and others are perfectly willing to focus on their personal interests and passions so they will often seek out trusted advisors for their money management. I’ll offer a current perspective on how financial institutions are responding to these archetypes.