WTOP Interview: Women’s Financial Success—Breaking Down Barriers

Listen to Dawn Doebler’s WTOP interview: Women’s Financial Success and Breaking Down the Barriers


Hillary Howard: Joining us to do that Dawn Doebler; cofounder of Her Wealth™ and Senior Wealth Advisor at Bridgewater Wealth in Bethesda, Maryland. Dawn, thank you so much for being here.

Dawn Doebler: Thank you for having me, it’s very exciting to be here.

Hillary Howard: Well! This is an exciting and important topic. You’re working to change the way women think about their money to be fully engaged in their financial lives. What’s the biggest barrier; how tough is it for women to be financially intelligent?

Dawn Doebler: Well, we have several barriers that we see and they really are common patterns that we see in women that come into our office, one of the biggest ones is that our industry is still very dominated by men. So, we end up seeing that the industry is a lot of men speaking to men and we believe that they contribute to women feeling uncomfortable. That’s part of the Her Wealth initiative—to help women to feel comfortable to ask the questions they should be asking and to engage in the conversation.

Shawn Anderson: Well, money is often a taboo topic; few people really do discuss it openly. How do you get folks to open, how do you get women to open up?

Dawn Doebler: We do encourage the conversation and the best thing is to start asking questions; what’s keeping you up at night, have the conversation with your spouse or your partner about the things that are concerning you, and most importantly, ask the questions, ”How much money do we have”? “What’s our tax situation?” “Why are we investing the way we are, and who can we ask questions to if we have questions that are burning questions for us?”

Hillary Howard: When it comes to women, it’s not one particular age group that handles this more poorly than the other; it seems to work across all lines, all ages. Is it the same way with men?

Dawn Doebler: No. I think in general women are kind of cultured not to be involved in the conversation. It’s a little lesser with the younger generations which we definitely see Millennials, who are engaging in the conversation more. Although it still seems to be the case that many women leave the conversation about money and the responsibility about money to men—whether it’s their spouse or it’s their father or their older brother—and it does tend to be across all age groups like you said. I do think that women in the kind of 40-to-60-year-old range tend to be in a really interesting position, they’ve been cultured to not talk about money. They’ve been cultured to leave that to someone else in the family and yet they’re living lives where they really need to be responsible and they are taking control of the finances out of necessity.

Divorce is 50% and many women are widowed, there’s an interesting kind of statistic that we use—it’s called 75-75 which is that 75% of women will be single by the age of 75. So whether they like it or not, women will, at some point in their life, be responsible and likely solely responsible for their financial decisions.

Shawn Anderson: We only have 30 more seconds, any final thoughts for us?

Dawn Doebler: I think just; we ask women to go to our website. We’re trying to provide as much information as we can, it is bridgewaterwealth.com. Go to the Her Wealth tab, there are downloadable guides there for you—pre-retirement, post-divorce. A lot of information there, you don’t need to provide your name or anything. It’s important that you start asking questions and getting educated and engage in the conversation.

Hillary Howard: Great Dawn. Thanks so much for being with us. That’s Dawn Doebler with Bridgewater Wealth.