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Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship

What if women had the tools to make better financial decisions for their lives?

  • Jane Weller
  • |
  • Feb 17, 2022
What if women had the tools to make better financial decisions for their lives?

For Kristine Beese, MBA ’10, founder of Untangle Money, being an entrepreneur means starting with the basic thought, “things could be better – if”. 

Solving that “if” is at the heart of every entrepreneur.

Beese’s particular “if” is to build every woman a roadmap for their finances based on their own numbers and unique journey. For decades, the mainstream financial industry has consistently failed women, noted Beese, and she hopes Untangle Money can provide a solution while drawing more eyes to the problem.

According to Beese, the curve on which traditional financial assumptions are based just doesn’t work for women.  Women’s financial lives are radically different and they need to be given different strategies for managing their money throughout their life.

Their careers often don’t follow the steady upward trajectory of their male counterparts.  Life events such as maternity leave, child & family care, part-time work and then restarting a career, all serve as disrupters in their journey.

Women normally don’t talk about money – it’s not the social norm, said Beese, and even the jargon around finance can be intimidating. Compounding this problem, she added, is that traditional wealth management systems are actually increasing asset requirements for their services thereby leaving more women behind.  

These situational differences are what drive Beese’s passion and vision for her company. Untangle Money delivers information that allows women to take control of their entire financial journey. Beese calls it, “now money” and “future money.”

And the problem is much larger than a few percentage points.

One of the most alarming statistics she noted is the wealth gap between men and women. For every dollar a man has in net worth, women have only 32 cents. US data shows this gap is even greater for Latino and Black women, they only have 1 cent in net worth for every dollar the average man has. The gap is getting worse, ten years ago it was 36 cents - making the poverty cycle for lower- and middle-class women nearly impossible to break.

Solid financial knowledge is a powerful tool giving women the ability to make choices, both now and for the future, and understand trade-offs inherent in those choices.   She adds there is no “magical money” despite lavish lifestyles glorified on TV and social media, and every spending choice made today affects tomorrow.

Untangle Money breaks down a client’s own numbers into a personal roadmap - how much you make per hour, how much is spent on debt servicing, how much on fixed costs (rent, bank fees, utilities, phone, subscription services), how much is put towards retirement, and then what’s leftover is what you have to spend on all the rest for each hour you’ve worked.

People really like this format since it allows you to say to yourself how many hours do I need to work to purchase something? It helps you look at things a little differently.

Giving women financial literacy and letting them know about choices is a consuming mission for Beese. She is adamant women can’t change what they don’t know. With this passion for education in mind, Beese shares her insights with many corporate clients and Untangle Money offers a free educational seminar quarterly.

With 41 percent of women over 65 in Canada who are single, divorced or widowed living below the poverty line, things clearly aren’t where they should be. But realizing Beese’s vision for Untangle Money might be an important step in the right direction.

Things could be better… if women had the tools and information to make better financial decisions for their lives.