itís relying on a spouse to handle household finances,
being afraid of doing something risky with their money
or just not feeling confident, women are less likely to
take an active role in investing their savings.
not just older women who have taken a hands-off
approach; studies by investment firms and anecdotal
evidence from financial advisers said women of all ages
are less likely to invest.
study last fall from Fidelity Investments showed that
only 19 percent of women said they hold primary
responsibility for long-term retirement decisions, but
this is up from 9 percent in 2011. Twenty-four percent
of baby-boomer women said they make primary decisions on
day-to-day finance, but only 12 percent of Generation Y
women said they are in charge.
is despite another study last year from insurance firm
Allianz Life, saying that "bag lady" fears ó
that is, ending up broke and homeless ó persist
whether the woman is single, married or divorced, or
whether she is low-income or wealthy. According to the
survey, 57 percent of women said the thought of running
out of money in retirement keeps them up at night.
those fears, why donít women look for alternatives to
sticking money in a savings account that is earning less
than 1 percent interest? Financial advisers said there
are many reasons ó but women can take more control
over their financial well-being through education and
understanding that there are different definitions to
the word "risk."
Juge, founder and managing director of Life Income
Management, who focuses on retirement planning, said she
has done many surveys of women, particularly boomer
women, and agreed that fear is a big factor.
a lack of information; thereís a fear of looking
silly," she said.
to mention, Juge said, "Theyíre busy
breast-feeding and carpooling in certain times of their
life. Theyíre not focused on money as much; theyíre
focused on making everything OK."
Marie Etergino, senior vice president at the Etergino
Group, part of RBC Wealth Management, said that among
the younger women she mentors, there is a view that
money is intimidating.
might be surprising to hear that women in their 20s and
30s might be indifferent to investing, but she said
stock market crashes in 2002 and 2008 likely had an
effect. "To them, itís risky," she said.
financial market scandals havenít helped, either.
think Wall Street has such a bad name in general. Ö
They think it is not for them, or they think they donít
have enough money, or they think itís rigged. I think
itís a combination of all those things," she
it comes to investing, women tend to look at stock
market volatility ó price swings ó as risky because
one can lose money in down markets, but Etergino said
thatís not the only risk.
Ö should be thinking of it as, ĎThe risk that I
might not have enough money when Iím 95 is the risk
that Iím trying to hedge against,í " she said.
women think toward the future, it can make them better
investors, the financial experts said. It takes
explaining and having a plan to show women that
investing can help them reach their goals.
McIntyre, managing director and senior financial adviser
with Wescott Financial Advisory Group, works with women
in transition in their lives. McIntyre said itís
better to present real-life stories and talk actual
dollar figures, not percentages.
also said itís important "to remind yourself that
you donít need all of your money in any one year.
Rather, this money will last you the rest of your
said that when she talks to clients, she maps out for
them detailed plans, based on information given to her
by the clients.
show them, ĎHere is where you are, here is where you
want to be, here are the assumptions weíre making
based on what you told us. ... Here is documentation
that you should be able to meet your goals.í Having a
plan gives them a greater sense of control," she
women start investing, they usually take a different
approach from men, said Donna Skeels Cygan, author of
"The Joy of Financial Security" and founder of
Sage Future Financial.
tendency for women to take less risk may also have to do
with the way their brains are wired. Neuroscientists are
studying how different parts of our brains interact to
help us make financial decisions," she said.
Studies show men are more competitive with their
investing, wanting to "beat" the market, Cygan
said, while women are more contemplative.
not good or bad; itís just different," she said.
concern about market volatility can work in their favor,
McIntyre said. "Women tend to be slow and steady
parties. Ö They might not make as much, but their
downsides arenít so severe," meaning they donít
lose as much money, she said.
women are cautious, they use intuition more when they
invest, Juge said. "Itís an enormous
advantage," she said, which usually keeps them from
chasing a hot stock.
said the long-term focus for women helps them "tune
out noise." Also, she said, because women generally
talk more than men, theyíre "better at
articulating their goals, and I can quantify them so the
analysis is more meaningful."
said itís important for women to learn to be good
investors because itís likely theyíll take care of
themselves at some point in their lives, whether itís
younger women who may marry later in life, or others
outliving their husbands or divorcing.
by the mere fact that women live longer," she said,
"are we preparing them the way we should be?"