Retirement letter from Wealth Manager and Research Analyst Mitzi Carletti

by Badgley Phelps | Dec 28, 2022

I will begin 2023 as a retired person. As I approach this milestone, I reflect on the past 44 years of my career in the investment industry. Undoubtably, such reflections evoke a wide range of emotions and memories. What stands out the most are the valuable lessons I’ve learned from working with women investors. And these learnings prompt me to share some last pieces of advice.

Women know how to deal with threats

Women are competent and confident investors. We often hear generalizations about “women investors,” but I have found none of them to be true. Women are not risk averse; they are risk aware, and it is this risk awareness that is actually an advantage. It gives women the ability to acknowledge a threat and then work toward either accepting, reducing, or eliminating it all together.

The income gap is still a very real fear—but planning helps

I hear from women investors that money is about independence and empowerment. The lack of resources can create apprehension and even fear—and these fears are not irrational given the wealth gap that persists between men and women. In addition to being compensated less than our male counterparts, we are also viewed by society as the primary caregivers. Although this role is vital, it limits the amount of time we can devote to building our careers and, in some situations, it can take us completely out of the workforce. Unfortunately, all these factors translate into a lower social security benefit and potentially less retirement savings.

Women investors can combat income disparity by evaluating our current financial situations, identifying our goals, and creating plans. The sooner women investors have a plan, the higher the chance for success. However, if you are reading this and 30 is a distant marker in your rear-view mirror, it’s not too late. There are creative strategies to explore to make up for lost time and lost savings.

It's rarely “different this time”

As we think about the stock market and potential returns, or lack of returns, on investments, I can’t begin to tell you how many times in my career I heard “it’s different this time.” This comment is usually in response to an event that, historically, has caused a negative trend in the market. In my experience, it has never been different. There are a lot of sources, with their own interests, who want to believe history is not going to repeat itself. That appears to be based on wishful thinking, not empirical evidence. Markets go up and markets go down: it’s a cycle. And the only thing we can do in defense of this volatility is to invest wisely for the long-term, and not be led off course by our emotions.  

Advice from a longtime wealth manager and research analyst

I have learned so much from my experiences in this industry. It has been exciting, humbling, and rewarding—and I wouldn’t change a moment in my journey. Every position, company, and person with whom I’ve engaged has enriched my life experience. My hope is that I, in some small way, have made a difference in both clients’ and colleagues’ lives.

My parting words for you are: Trust your intuition and remember, “Behind every successful woman is a lot of other women.”

I am forever indebted to each and every one of you.


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