Women learn about money and success through real stories from real people, according to a new white paper titled Rich Thinking: A Global Study — A Guide to Building Financial Confidence in Girls and Women by Barbara Stewart, CFA.

Stewart’s research has revealed a similarity between women’s general financial experiences, attitudes, education and confidence, and has highlighted that the majority of women learn about finances from their mentors rather than through classes or institutions.

These findings, released to coincide with International Women’s Day, are the result of in-depth interviews conducted throughout 2011 with 50 women from around the globe, from cities such as Toronto, Tel Aviv and Paris, among others.

The current study builds on Stewart’s acclaimed 2010 white paper, the Financial Lives of Girls and Women.

“The most important finding of Financial Lives was that over half of women said that their most valuable financial knowledge was principally acquired through informal instruction and real stories from other people [rather than] from text books, newspapers, or financial institutions,” says Barbara Stewart, portfolio manager at Cumberland Private Wealth Management Inc. “Yet these sorts of stories are not what women are being offered when being formally educated about financial literacy.”

She adds, “The objective of my new white paper is to bridge that divide, by presenting the stories of accomplished women thematically, so that all women [and all investors] can absorb the life lessons, sage advice [and] financial wisdom of successful women globally,” continues Stewart.

Stewart found that young women are indeed educated, but that they’re provided little help in understanding how to develop a financially stable life. She stresses that contributing to the education and financial confidence of the up-and-coming generation of women is crucial.

“Taking the time to give a focused message about money may be enough to change a life for the better,” she explains. “These messages can directly build confidence, which is the fundamental element that will drive a lifetime of rich accomplishments.”

The top 10 financial tips that can lead to success:

  1. Clearly determine your desired lifestyle, its cost, and your ambitions.
  2. Plan thoroughly and be persistent in attaining your goals.
  3. Get smart! Education is the key to confidence and informed decisions.
  4. Start working young: Learn the value of labour and training your mind.
  5. Figure out the true market value of your contribution to your field, and don’t settle for less.
  6. Align your personal and financial decisions with your values.
  7. Be independent and deal with your own finances.
  8. Seize the day! Put your preparation and hard work to use by taking advantage of all opportunities.
  9. Respect money but don’t let it define you. Read the news, travel, and have some context for your place in the world.
  10. Be wise and seek out the advice of experts when needed.

For a copy of the full white paper, visit www.barbarastewart.ca.