SAVE10 campaign a rallying cry for women saving for the future
July 29 - August 4, 2019
By Amber Davis
Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, founder and CEO of Aptus Financial, had been in the finance industry for more than a decade when she noticed that one simple action seemed to improve enrollment in companies’ retirement plans. “I realized there was a big increase in enrollment when I would just ask people to save,” Gutierrez said.
This observation about the power of a personal ask inspired Gutierrez to start the Save10 campaign. “Save10 is a campaign that will serve as a rallying cry to get women in Arkansas saving for their futures,” Gutierrez explained. She is on a mission to encourage women to have conversations with each other about money and their futures in hopes that these personal interactions will persuade women in Arkansas to start saving 10 percent of their gross incomes for retirement. The campaign is slated for a soft launch on Sept. 29, and for a full launch on Oct.10.
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, 29 percent of households headed by someone 55 or older have no pension or retirement savings. As for those who do have savings, the Arkansas Women’s Foundation’s website states, “[S]tudies show that we have a gender wealth gap where women ‘own’ or save $0.32 on the dollar compared to men.” According to Stephanie Matthews, the Save10 Campaign Director and vice president of communications for BOND.AI, “There are systemic issues at play here that must be addressed, and we can’t tackle all of those through Save10. We’re helping women with the part we can control – knowing how much to save for retirement based on age and how to make that happen.”
To help address this issue, the Women’s Foundation is serving as a launchpad for the Save10 campaign. Alison Williams is Chief of Staff for Governor Asa Hutchinson and is a board member for the Women’s Foundation. Williams and Gutierrez are co-chairing this year’s Power of the Purse Luncheon, which is the Women’s Foundation’s largest fundraising event. The luncheon will be on Sept. 26, and will serve as a soft launch for the Save10 campaign.
Williams feels that the luncheon is the best platform to raise awareness about the Save10 campaign, noting that the Power of the Purse will serve to “leverage the power of nearly 1,000 luncheon attendees to encourage women to invest in their own financial security.” Her goal is for every attendee of Power of the Purse to tell 10 friends about Save10.
The objectives of the Save10 campaign align well with the Women’s Foundation’s goals. According to Williams, “The Women’s Foundation’s mission is to engage our community to promote women and girls in Arkansas so they can realize and achieve their full potential. Long-term economic security is vital to women and girls achieving their full potential. Additionally, whether purposeful or not, most financial information is developed with a man in mind. Save10 is specifically designed to educate and inform women in ways that resonate with women.”
Williams said that Save10 is important because the message – save 10 percent of one’s income for retirement – is simple. Additionally, encouraging women to talk to their friends about money “has the power to break down taboos around a subject that is critical to addressing the wealth gap in our country,” Williams continued. “We hope that all women in Arkansas will invest in themselves and in their future. Save10 in a simple way to start,” she said.
After the soft launch at Power of the Purse, Save10 will hold a larger-scale launch on Oct. 10, 2019. By that time, the organization will have resources for individuals, companies, banks and community organizations to encourage personal conversations about retirement saving and reaching the goal of saving 10 percent of one’s income. Matthews also said, “We’re even training volunteers to speak publicly about Save10 and their personal savings journeys.”
Training this “speakers bureau” is only one of the ways the Save10 organizers are preparing for the launch. Matthews said that dozens of women have already started forming committees and planning ways to promote the message and gather data about whether the program is working.
The founders have also created a group on Facebook that currently has more than 3,100 members. Matthews said about the group, “For many women, talking about money can be uncomfortable, and we’re creating a safe place to do that through our Save10 Facebook community and sharing tips on how to have conversations about money at home, at work, and in our social circles.” Gutierrez said that her goal is to have at least 10,000 members in the Facebook group by the time of the official launch on Oct. 10.
One member of the Facebook group is Tamika Edwards, Executive Director of the Social Justice Institute at Philander Smith College. Edwards said, “I joined Save10 because I wanted to learn various ways to build our savings and eliminate our debt. I’m striving for financial independence. I saw this group as a way for me to learn how to get there.” Her favorite discussions have revolved around savings and debt elimination.
Edwards has found the information so valuable that she has invited “a lot of people” to join the Facebook group. She said, “I’ve invited them because I want them to gain the same valuable information about money. I wanted them to gain insight from other women who took control of their finances. It seems that we’ve been taught not to talk about money. I think that’s to our detriment. While money can’t buy love our happiness, it pays for many of the things we need.”
Save10 is primarily targeting women aged 18 to 30. Gutierrez said this is because the group wishes to target women who are least likely to have other major financial commitments. Additionally, women in this age range can best take advantage of “inertia.” Gutierrez noted, “Once you do it, it’s done. There’s no further decision to make, and the majority of people will not go back and reduce their retirement contributions once that is set.” The goal of saving 10 percent is appealing because it is not complex. “It gives people a way to embrace savings where you don’t have to be a math expert. You don’t have to be a finance expert,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is quick to note that she has met women with “complicated situations” or who are not able to save 10 percent of their incomes for many reasons. She sees a place for these women in Save10 as well, saying, “I’m not saying everyone needs cookie cutter advice, but this is a way to make a significant change by including everyone in the discussion. I hope this encourages women to engage in saving and the conversation that they often feel left out of.”
For more information about Save10 or getting involved in the campaign, email Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.