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Alerting, helping women to close the gender savings gap

Most of us are aware of the gender pay gap, the oft-cited fact that the average woman in the American workforce earns 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Most of us are aware of the gender pay gap, the oft-cited fact that the average woman in the American workforce earns 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Some financial professionals also point to a gender savings gap, which could make it more difficult for women to enjoy their retirement years.

According to financial planning and investment management firm BlackRock, women are 12 percent less likely to start a retirement fund, and those who have, on average, have accumulated less than half the savings of male counterparts.

Some professionals believe one reason for that is that the financial services industry has done a poor job of catering to female clientele.

“In general, the wealth management industry’s marketing strategies, communication tactics and investment protocols were developed primarily by men, to attract and engage male clients,” said Lisa Strohm, a Center Valley financial adviser.

“When presented with these strategies, protocols and tactics, many women have a difficult time becoming engaged with their financial affairs.”

Strohm is president and CEO of The Athena Network, a “financial and life management firm” that does a lot of its work with women and their families.

There is little dispute that the financial services industry is dominated by men. In fact, 86 percent of all investment advisers are men who are at least 50, according to Ellevest, a new online investment platform that targets women.

High-powered Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck launched the platform last year in the hopes of tapping into an underappreciated class of investors — American women who control more than $5 trillion in investable assets.

In the Greater Lehigh Valley, there are a few investment advisers — such as The Athena Network — who have been working for years to help women invest.

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