With Women’s History Month coming to an end, by no means do we stop providing the necessary tools women need to become successful. Lorna Kapusta, Head of Women Investors and Customer Engagement at Fidelity Investments, runs a dedicated team to help and serve women to make informed financial decisions. We sat down with Lorna to share how her team at Fidelity is empowering women.
Grit Daily: Inquiring minds want to know: Tell us what is your role as Head of Women Investors and Customer Engagement at Fidelity?
Lorna Kapusta: As Head of Women Investors and Customer Engagement at Fidelity Investments, I am responsible for a firm-wide initiative committed to empowering women to become more actively involved in their finances at every life stage. My team and I focus on driving financial knowledge among women and helping them feel more informed when making choices about their money and the opportunities they have to help their savings grow. We do this by providing educational tools and experiences that meet their unique needs and fit into their busy lives. That includes offering live events and workshops, interactive tools, actionable advice, and other educational resources to jump-start their financial future.
This month, Fidelity launched a virtual pop-up experience that addresses topics that women have been asking about most during the past year of the pandemic. Getting more hands-on with our finances has become a top priority for so many. This month-long program is a new iteration of our Women Talk Money program, of which I’m so proud.
Grit Daily: What do you feel is the biggest strength of your company right now?
Lorna Kapusta: One, investors can trust the Fidelity Investment name. Privately held for more than 70 years, Fidelity is fulfilling its mission to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. We work with a diverse set of customers in all different life stages and have helped more than 32 million people invest their life savings.
Everything we do is focused on our customers and meeting their unique needs, providing greater peace of mind by providing individual guidance at all life stages. These include our financial professionals being available to help 24/7, as well as industry-leading tools and technology.
A few examples, for young adults, we offer the Fidelity Spire app to help them plan by creating personalized short-term and long-term financial goals. Our Life Events hub offers resources to guide those planning financially through major moments, whether it’s saving for college or preparing for a divorce.
Given my team’s focus, I see another strength of Fidelity’s is that we understand that women and men have different needs when it comes to planning for life’s major moments and for the long term. Recent events have certainly exacerbated this, as multiple Fidelity studies this year have shown. In particular, caregiving responsibilities tend to fall onto women’s shoulders, and financial planning can take a back seat to more pressing family needs. As a mom of three kids, I can certainly relate, and so over the past year, my team has been laser-focused on ensuring that women know that they don’t have to do it alone.
Grit Daily: What problem are you trying to solve?
Lorna Kapusta: At the very basic level, I am committed to helping women make informed financial decisions and become more financially confident in their daily lives. At Fidelity, we are focused on educating women on how to make their money work as hard as they do, to help achieve the goals they have for themselves and their families.
We’re doing this by making it easier for women to get engaged, by providing tools and learning experiences that address their unique needs, as well as connecting them with professionals that are ready to help. Many women don’t realize that they can reach out for this help anytime – no matter where you are on your financial journey or what life stage you’re on. If you work for a company that offers employer benefits, see what they offer in terms of financial workshops or opportunities to connect with an advisor as part of your retirement savings plan. Or, you can reach out directly to Fidelity, where you can simply call and get started for free.
Grit Daily: Can you tell us more about your research findings in the Fidelity Investment Pandemic Impact Study?
Lorna Kapusta: Last fall, we surveyed women across the country, in particular those in caregiving roles, to learn more about who the pandemic was impacting in terms of work and family life. We found nearly 4-in-10 women were actively considering leaving the workforce or reducing their hours as their parenting and family responsibilities were increasing. 59% of women were stressed about falling behind in their career if they need to stop working, and 80% of women were concerned about everyday finances. But we also found that women were navigating those challenges, getting more proactive with their finances, and looking for more help.
Since then, we conducted a follow-up study to evaluate how women are feeling about their finances today to understand how to best support their needs. The research found that financial stress has increased since the fall, as a historic 79% of women are suffering from financial stress, up from 67% just last fall. However, it’s not all bad news, as 7-in-10 women expressed a desire to get more hands-on with their money and take action, led by millennial, Latina (83%), and Black (76%) women. Plus, women are also seeking more financial guidance than ever before. Fidelity kicked off our virtual pop-up experience to help answer those specific needs.
Grit Daily: For the uninitiated, what is the Women Talk Money Q&A series?
Lorna Kapusta: Women Talk Money started in response to an influx of women reaching out at the start of the pandemic last spring. We hosted a series of weekly Zoom calls back in April to connect women across the country with our roster of financial experts to help answer their most pressing financial questions. It is now a live weekly series, 30 minutes via Zoom every Wednesday, and on-demand, addressing financial topics most relevant to women right now and offering an interactive forum where viewers can ask additional questions via chat.
Each week, I host a discussion focusing on a different financial topic – based on questions submitted from viewers- such as navigating a change in income, planning for college, and how to navigate the hidden costs of caregiving, providing real-time guidance with no jargon or judgment. The response has been tremendous, with thousands of women tuning in and submitting questions. These are my favorite Zoom calls of the week! And now our virtual pop-up is reaching more women nationwide!
Grit Daily: With Women’s History Month, what kind of initiatives is Fidelity taking on?
Lorna Kapusta: Fidelity is honoring Women’s History Month this year by hosting a first-of-its-kind virtual pop-up experience that empowers women to take action to accomplish their financial goals. Throughout the month, the virtual experience features special events and activities designed to help women take a fresh look at their finances and connect with the guidance they need to build a healthier financial future.
The experience is available to everyone, and more than 15,000 companies across the country are collaborating with Fidelity to invite their employees to take part, making financial guidance more accessible to 10 million+ women.
Featured within the Women’s History Month Experience:
- Special events that delve into the connection between our financial, physical, and mental health, with guests including Eve Rodsky, New York Times best-selling author and founder of Fair Play, and Jean Chatzky, financial journalist and founder of HerMoney.
- Four weeks of what we call financial game-changers, digging into topics women ask about most, from resetting your financial foundation to setting goals and creating money habits that stick. There’s also retirement planning and investing for other goals, and making your money work as hard as you do. Each week’s activities are accompanied by easy-to-use tools and action plans, and access to 1:1 help as needed.
We are seeing a tremendous amount of participation and feedback.
Grit Daily: What’s one success story you can share from the last 12 months that made an impact on you?
Lorna Kapusta: It’s been quite a year for all of us. I feel the greatest success I have witnessed and been a small part of is the launch, ongoing effort of our Women Talk Money program, and connecting with so many women across the country. When the pandemic hit and thousands of women were looking for help, we knew we needed to do something. My team and I were challenged to think big about what we could do to help – and ten days later we launched the series. Although initially, we thought it would last 4-6 weeks, now 1-year later, and we have held weekly live discussions, with a growing audience of thousands that I truly feel I have had the pleasure to get to know.
The thousands of questions and thankful comments we have received are truly inspiring and have been a tremendous positive force. Every week we are inspired to help more women and have led us to continue growing the program with this bigger effort for Women’s History Month. I can’t wait to see what’s next to come!
Grit Daily: What is one conventional wisdom about women investors that is just plain wrong?
Lorna Kapusta: That men are better investors than women! Working with millions of women across the country, we see that not only are women generally great savers, but also they perform as well or even better than men. Some of what we see:
- Women tend to think about investing in terms of reaching goals they have for themselves and their loved ones, not focusing solely on “beating a benchmark”.
- They are risk-aware.
- Thoughtful about their investments, and we see women tend to invest in more age-based allocations.
- Women tend to invest for the long term – less trading in and out of the market.
That said, we need to help women see the opportunity investing offers to help savings grow.