Women supporting women

Why having a strong support network is so important

International Women’s Day is a global movement that recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This year’s theme, ‘Inspire Inclusion’, serves as a reminder that when women support other women, they create a collective power that helps overcome barriers and drive inclusion.

Because when we lift each other up, we inspire change and pave the way forward for a more inclusive and equitable future.

Having a trusted support network with strong relationships you can count on isn’t just good for our practical needs, it’s vital for our mental health. Benefits include improved wellbeing, better coping skills and a longer, happier life. It’s also been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, and reduce stress.

Surrounding yourself with others who are experiencing many of the same life issues and challenges can also offer valuable insight. That’s particularly true for women, who often face common challenges in life, health and wealth – and who may have a less traditional support network around them as they age.

Many women spend much of their later years without their partner.

Some widows may feel both the burden of loss and potential financial stress, due to having been left out of conversations around wealth management before this period.

More women take on a caregiver role, often while still raising children.

Although some families share the responsibility of caregiving, the onus is often on women.

Women spend more time out of the workforce to care for children, parents and sometimes spouses.

These gaps can mean lost wages, lower retirement savings and smaller pensions – and lead to stress, depression and anxiety.

Women are at greater risk for health concerns.

While women on average live longer than men, chronic health issues can directly impact wealth planning in later years.

Create a support network made up of diverse people, consisting of trusted allies, mentors, professionals and other women who share similar experiences and goals. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about your well being and who can offer different perspectives, encouragement and practical resources.

  • Family members – Family members can offer emotional support during difficult times, and may provide insight into family dynamics and history that may impact practical, health or financial decisions.
  • Friends – Close friends can provide a safe space to express feelings, share experiences and offer perspective and empathy during challenging times. Leaning on friends who have experienced similar situations can help you feel less alone and more supported.

  • Mentors – Seeking guidance from successful women who have experience in managing finances and navigating life and professional challenges can be invaluable. Mentors can offer advice, share their experiences and help you develop the skills and confidence you need.
  • Local community – Getting involved in your local community can be a valuable way to meet new people and develop strong connections. Your community can serve as a valuable source of support, resources and empowerment and give you a sense of belonging and purpose.

  • Financial professional – A trusted financial advisor can provide ongoing support and guidance, and help you navigate major life transitions like marriage, divorce, parenthood or career changes. They can empower you with financial knowledge and education, and provide resources to help you make informed decisions about your financial future.
  • Trusted contact person – At some point in life you could experience a health issue that affects your ability to make sound decisions, or a decline in financial awareness as you age, making you a target for financial exploitation. A trusted contact person is someone you trust ( a close friend, family member or caregiver for example) and authorize to be contacted if your advisor suspects you are making financial decisions out of character.

Different people offer unique perspectives, expertise and types of support. Start by identifying your needs, reach out to family, friends and existing contacts, join groups or organizations and be open to new connections.

Building a support network takes time and effort – but the relationships you cultivate can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial in the long run.

Explore personalized advice, designed for women investors. Read more.

[1] Number of widowed people in Canada by gender 2022 | Statista

[2] Family Caregiver Alliance, Facts and Figures, 2015

[3] Age Wave estimate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

[4] Women’s Brain Health Initiative