Editor’s note: This article was updated on June 30, 2016, to explain that Kim Mustin left her position at BNY Mellon after the story went to press in our print publication.
Women are different investors than men, and have different needs when it comes to learning about finances. That’s the news from BNY Mellon and sister company Pershing’s white paper, “The Retirement Challenge, Dilemmas and Decisions Through Every Decade.” Workforce sat down with Kim Mustin, who recently left her position as co-head of global distribution and head of Americas distribution at BNY Mellon Investment Management, to talk about how employers can elevate their approach to the challenges women face.
Workforce: How important is it that plan sponsors and their providers know women?
Kim Mustin: I think it’s incredibly important. Women educate themselves in different ways. They take in and digest information in different ways, and they have just different likes and dislikes about the way that something gets presented to them. It’s not to suggest that women are one homogeneous investor group either. Within the female investor population, I think every woman is a snowflake. It’s important to understand that from a plan sponsor standpoint.
WF: Are there generational differences that HR folks need to be aware of when helping women with education for retirement?
Mustin: If you go to a women in her 20s and start talking to her about purchasing a long-term-care policy … her eyes are probably going to roll back in her head because she is just in her first job, maybe starting to think about marriage, children and balancing her career and all of those things. She has a totally different list of priorities than a woman that might be in her 50s who may be thinking about managing her time. They have an entirely different set of short-term needs that are in front of them. I think that whenever you are talking to a group of investors, you have to understand where they are in the spectrum in the short-, medium- and long-term.
WF: One of the main problems women face when saving is access. Many have part-time jobs and don’t qualify for a retirement plan at work. How can women’s inability to save affect their employers?
Mustin: There are a number of professions where the plan sponsors are very concerned about the workforce’s ability to execute on the things they need to for their particular business. If you have women who can’t retire because they don’t have enough money, then that is going to create a more top-heavy organization. You want to have diversity within your organization of ages, skills, pay rates, ethnic backgrounds, etc. There will be a whole bunch of older people who are more expensive workers, and you won’t be able to afford to hire newer people. If I don’t feel I’ve saved enough, my propensity to leave will be quite low. It’s important for employers —for their own sustainability — to make sure that they are bringing in fresh thinking.