Months before returning to Tel Aviv, I checked myself onto numerous e-mail discussion lists to get a vibe up on the scene here in HLC (Holy Land Central)..You know: see what people talk about, what the tone is, what types of jobs are up for grabs and what stuff is sold at garage sales.
Earlier this week, moderators of one of the higher brow lists catering to upper tier, professional women, organized a dinner and lecture in Herzeliya’s high tech zone. Set upon meeting and greeting women I’ve known virtually for nearly a year and primed for gleaning financial tips from the high profile, investment broker speaking on Women and Finances, I eagerly attended.
The evening was a complete mix of jelly bean flavors, not necessarily gourmet. Starting with the inane: The Italian restaurant was oh-so-tepid. While the prix fixe menu was ridiculously low budget – fruit juice, salad or soup appetizer, pasta entree and coffee or tea for under $15 – and the food was decent, the service was crapola..”Can I please, please, please get that coffee I paid for now if I’m nice, remind you six times and pass another fiver into your palm when nobody’s looking?”
Onto the second level: The Attendees. Young, pension age, middle age, Israeli, South African, American, English, CEO’s, independent contractors, consultants, computer industry salarieds…An impressive lot with ambition, smarts and clearly the know-how to have attained positions of status within their realms.
Top floor, please: The Lecture. I couldn’t help but conjure Steve Jobs as a wiry female while watching our turtleneck-clad investment speaker work the crowd. Alas, the dry ice and flashy effects were missing. Not missing, unfortunately, was a pandering to gender stereotypes: If you inherited $50 thousand, let’s admit it ladies: Most of you would stick it in the bank and forget about it Or: Budget, does not mean the car rental company.
I looked around the dinner table thinking: So I’m a teeny bit savvy. A few investments here and there (but still awaiting Puff Diddy’s invite to next season’s St. Tropez bash onboard the Christina O). Are women in Israel completely out of the investment-smarts loop, hanging onto their man’s trouser inseam for support, as our speaker was suggesting?
Can’t be. Next to me is the CEO of a Japanese language/business consultancy who formed her company after living in Tokyo for 6 years. She’s smart, sexy and tri-lingual. Next to her is the owner/operator of a top, graphics design firm currently working a major name, credit card account. And on and on and on.
So I send out feelers ’round the table and boy, do the sistahs come out from behind their linguine: Oh my god this lecture is off the mark. She’s completely stereotyping and her statistics are outdated….Whew! What a relief.
Not to completely paint our financial guru as an antique heap -she actually was sharp and on the ball but using scare tactics that didn’t work. When she finally dismissed the drama and got down to the bottom line of tips, she hit payola with highly relevant points for BOTH genders. I share a few:
1) Women generally outlive men. Start stashing it and definitely know what policies the other holds and how to get hold of the investment contact.
2)Women are outliving their pensions these days. SCARY!!! Talk to a financial planner about this one
3) Diversify…Think: bonds, stocks, property, hedge funds and cash
4) Cash is King. 10% of your worth should be in cash flow, high interest accounts
5) 25% of income should go into a savings or investment plan
6) If you don’t know what you’re spending and what’s coming in each month, consider it a danger signal
Feeling enlightened? Good. Go and invest, brothers and sisters…