Earlier this year, when the State Farm Center for Women and Financial Services created its first research fellow position, it wanted a female with a scholarly background plus experience working in financial services to fill the position.
Jill McCullough, YSU assistant professor of Finance, met the criteria.
“I was really fortunate in that I just happened to be the whole package that they needed,” she said.
In the position, McCullough conducts original research and develops reports for the center’s website and for financial services academic journals.
McCullough earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ohio University, and an MBA from YSU. She first joined the YSU faculty in 1987, and left in 1992 to run her own financial management practice. She returned to the YSU faculty in 2007 and in 2010 completed a Doctor of Management degree from the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University.
The Center for Women and Financial Services is funded by a grant from State Farm Insurance Co. The mission of the center is to improve the quality of service for female consumers as well as the experiences of women in the financial services professions. It is currently administered through the American College of Financial Services, a non-profit training institution for financial services practitioners.
“Women are half of the population, control half the wealth, and yet when it comes to financial services, they’re just totally underserved,” McCullough said. “The charge of the center is to study both women‘s financial lives and how the financial services field is, or is not, doing enough for women who choose this as their career.”
The center conducts surveys and gathers data, which McCullough analyzes and uses to create reports, sharing her findings in academic and trade journals and on the Center’s website.
“It’s fun for me because I get to research in different directions with resources that I wouldn’t normally have,” said McCullough.
For instance, earlier this year, McCullough and center Director Mary Quist-Newins produced a report on the retirement plans of women small business owners. The survey of 835 women showed that, while the majority is concerned about retirement, most have not estimated their retirement needs and do not have a written retirement plan. “The results clearly indicate that women small business owners need more guidance and professional financial advice in order to reach their financial goals,” the report says.
A prominent marketing trade magazine, LIMRA, used the study as the basis for an article.
From the same data set, McCullough has recently completed two more papers studying asset management and insurance planning, both of which she hopes will also be published.
Her next project for the center will be a first-of-its-kind study about how women from different minority groups feel in regard to their own financial planning and their attitudes about their financial service providers.
For more information on the center and McCullough’s work, visit http://womenscenter.theamericancollege.edu/.
Story by Harry Evans