In a recent interview on ABC, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and author Debra L. Morrison expressed her concerns about the financial literacy narrative surrounding women and minorities, particularly mature women. She advocates for a more nuanced, understanding approach that addresses the systemic inequities of the financial industry and focuses on building financial confidence rather than victim-blaming.
Morrison, a Certified Grief Coach and international motivational speaker, is well-known for her commitment to empowering women financially, regardless of their circumstances. With over four decades in the financial industry, she has consistently observed a pattern that concerns her.
“Many mature women, especially those from minority groups, have experienced pay inequities over the decades. To be told, often by white male financial pundits, that they just need to become financially literate to solve their problems smacks of blaming the victim,” Morrison says.
Morrison argues that financial literacy alone cannot address the systemic inequities present in the financial industry. She believes that women require trustworthy and unbiased sources of information to get timely answers to their financial questions.
“Women need answers to their financial questions as we have them, not a prescription to ‘read up’ for yet more decades,” she asserts.
Reflecting on the current financial landscape, Morrison pointed out the significant damage done to women as a result of being sold unsuitable, commission-rich products, as well as the absence of critical financial planning, that women need. She heralds the value of an unbiased source, like a Financial Coach or Fee-Only CFP® with no commission-conflict-of-interest, to provide strategies for women to achieve their goals.
Morrison, who holds a Master’s Degree in Retirement Planning and is an Accredited Estate Planner, emphasizes the importance of women forgiving themselves for past missteps and cultivating self-confidence.
“When women have made a financial misstep, they’re often paralyzed, sometimes for decades. I want to uplevel their self-confidence, forgive past missteps, and face forward in the direction of financial empowerment.”
To aid women in their financial journey, Morrison has outlined a “jumpstart checklist” to trigger awareness around tax, insurance, risk management, budgeting, estate planning and investments.
The checklist has helped hundreds of women identify what areas in their financial plan needs attention. Morrison encourages women to shift their focus from the fluctuations of their 401(k) balances to creating a broader, more comprehensive financial plan, establishing systematic investments to match their goals, while minimizing income taxes, allowing compounding to work for them.