Women and Investing

Despite being married with two daughters, I am not an expert on women.

For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why women might want or need different financial advice from advisors.

A few years ago, Dannelle Ward set me straight and pointed out that women do face different financial circumstances that sometimes require different advice.

Here are some statistics:
• At birth, the life expectancy for women is 81.3 and is only 76.3 for men.

• The median age for widowhood among women is 59.4 years old and spends 14 years in widowhood.

• Women still earn about 20-25 percent less than men over a lifetime for a variety of factors that, regardless of reason, still add up to smaller Social Security or pension payments and less accumulated wealth over time.

Despite earning less and having a longer time horizon, there is some good news as well:

• Women are about 10 percent more likely to enroll in their workplace savings plan then men.

• According to Vanguard, about 43 percent of women adopt professionally designed asset allocation strategies, compared to 37 percent of men.

• Women tend to trade less frequently and don’t suffer from overconfidence as frequently as men, which can lead to better investment returns.

While women are confronted with different circumstances that can require specialized financial planning, ultimately the solutions are gender neutral: save more, spend less, work longer, diversify and minimize costs and taxes. Some things are universal.