Meredith Wasney was married in her early 20s and divorced in her early 30s.
With full financial autonomy for the first time in seven years, Wasney realized how much time she’d lost to build wealth.
“I started taking investing courses, and learning about investing, but I just realized how I was talking to most of my male friends about investing because a lot of my female friends didn’t have a lot of knowledge on investing,” Wasney said.
“But there was an appetite there.”
She did more research and realized there’s a big gender investing gap – and wealth transfer – and women not targeted for financial services. Wasney said it was particularly clear in investing.
“So, women basically are overwhelmingly not invested in the stock market,” she said.
It’s a snowball effect of decades of systemic gender bias, she said. Things like the gender pay gap, the so-called pink tax on feminine products and childcare.
“Ninety per cent of financial articles that target women tell them to spend less money,” Wasney said.
There’s a disparity there and it starts at an early age and the problem continues to be perpetuated.
After all of this, Wasney, who has a marketing background, decided to launch Calgary-based Rallie, with co-founder Leanne LeBlanc. It’s an investment portal geared specifically to women.
Rallie – the investment tool for women
Wasney said Rallie will be set up like many of the investment portals out there.
You open an account, you’re asked questions based on your financial goals and risk appetite. Where it differs is in how they’re accounting for challenges specific to woman – such as career gaps while raising family. Or the different way women view investing compared to men.
“We think more in stages of our lives, whereas men kind of start at 18 and let it ride,” she said.
There’s also a big focus on community building and education – particularly for younger women. They’d like to inspire financial acumen in woman before they enter into serious relationships.
There’s also an integrated social network that’s being built into the investment platform. Wasney said it’s a place for women to talk about their goals, their wins and ask and answer questions together.
“But then also, act on it and actually invest their money with Rallie,” she said.
One other difference is it’s not designed to be a commission-based platform, it’s subscription-based instead, Wasney said. She said they wanted to provide predictability and be transparent with clients about the cost.
Once a deposit is made, the client profile is used to make the investments. It’s not a direct, self-investing system. Wasney called it automated investing.
“We’re trying to take a set-it-and-forget-it, it’s all on autopilot,” she said.
“A lot of people don’t have time or the knowledge to actually create their own portfolios and direct invest themselves. Especially women, who have so many other burdens to think about.”
The sounding board
Rallie has worked with Platform Calgary before, through their discovery program. The Junction program was the next step to moving the idea forward.
Wasney said having the sounding board there to provide ideas and direction encourages their pursuit.
“I found it super helpful,” Wasney said.
“It’s great to be able to connect with other entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem in Calgary and then just access to advisors, access to different people that we can talk to.”
Their app is expected to be available in 2022. They have their website and social pages launched to begin the investing conversation with women.
Tech aside, there are a still some regulatory hurdles to leap. Still, Wasney said they’ll be launching nationally, available to women across Canada.
“There’s still a lot to be done in terms of that, but that’s our that’s our goal,” she said.