Robin Hauser leads Finish Line Features, LLC, a company producing cause-based documentary films. The company’s films tell stories that raise awareness of pressing societal issues to educate and motivate an audience to take action.
One of her recent films, “bias”, looked at unconscious bias and how it affects our lives socially and in the workplace. Her exploration of implicit gender and racial bias in artificial intelligence was the topic of a TED talk in December 2017. An earlier firm, “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap”, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2015, was screened at The White House, and caught the attention of the tech industry, policy makers, and educators around the world.
Hauser’s latest project is $avvy, a new documentary about women and money, a topic she came to because of, well, life. She has a background in international business, an MBA, and worked as a stockbroker all over Europe but still found herself not taking an active role in her own personal finances.
“I was in a fairly traditional marriage for 25 years,” said Hauser. “And, like a lot of marriages, we had a division of labor.” Which can work out fine, until it doesn’t. At age 50, Hauser found herself in charge of her financial wellbeing. She was going through a divorce and was suddenly faced with a slew of financial questions and decisions. When she turned to her friends for advice, she discovered that many shrugged their shoulders and pointed to their male partners.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe we still see women abdicating their financial responsibilities,” said Hauser. “It’s vital for women to be financial independent. They live longer and often earn less.”
The statistics around women and their finances can be alarming
- Women are less engaged with personal finance than men. Just over half (52 percent) will talk about money with their friends versus 61 percent of men.
- Women are much more likely than men to have a savings shortfall going into retirement.
- Only 39 percent of women are confident they will have enough money for their retirement (versus 54 percent of men.)
- According to a 2020 survey by U.S. Bank, nearly half of all women associate negative emotions with financial planning.
It’s not all a fairy tale – financial security and relationships
Hauser uses $avvy to advocate for being open with discussions about money and finances, especially when entering a serious relationship. While she acknowledges that talking about money with a partner isn’t all that romantic, partners need to be on the same page. Even if one of the partners knows more about finances and money going in, both partners need to be involved in and aware of their financial decisions. What does each partner think about investing? What about saving? Spending? What does money mean to each party?
In some cases, money is freedom. Freedom to walk away if things go badly. Hauser calls it the “ticket to get out.”
The video interview with Robin Hauser delves into how she brought her vision to the screen, including raising the funds to do so. She discusses the taboos around money discussions and especially money discussions inside a relationship. And she talks about how we should be raising young women to be both fiscally responsible and financially independent.