July 2012 PREMIER Business & Finance One might believe that dealing with wealth management is gender neutral, but in our experience, we have seen men and women come at this issue in very different ways.
For the past 26 years I have been giving financial advice to many, many couples. Each of my partners has been doing the same for the last 12 years. During that collective 50 year time span we have observed noticeable patterns in couples’ behavior. One pattern that we noticed is that women tend to take a back seat to their male counterpart when it comes to making financial decisions for the couple.
The interesting part of that dynamic, from our observations, is that women, more often than not, take care of the household budgeting, the check writing etc., but don’t seem to have as much interest in making the wealth management decisions for the couple. It is a common occurrence for the woman to tell us that she just doesn’t have much interest in financial matters and that her husband takes care of that. Obviously this is not the case in every household, but we have observed it often enough to conclude it is how the majority of households operate.
This might work fine as long as they stay happily married or as long as they are both alive. What troubles us is the conversations we have had with so many women who have gone through a divorce (or are going through one) when they suddenly realize they know so little about managing their wealth yet are forced into the position of making life altering decisions.
The same holds true for women who are widowed. Since the actuarial tables say that on average women live longer than men, it is a pretty good bet that at some point in time most women are going to have to fend for themselves.
In many cases it has a paralyzing effect on the woman in transition. So my partner, Catherine Magana, decided she was going to do something about it. She said she wanted to have an ongoing program to teach women about investing, financial planning, social security, long term care, life insurance, annuities, responsible handling of one’s liabilities as well as other topics that might be specifically of interest to women.
One might believe that dealing with wealth management is gender neutral, but in our experience, we have seen men and women come at this issue in very different ways. For one thing we have observed that in the overwhelming majority of couples with whom we have dealt, women make more conservative choices than men. We have also observed that women are much more detail oriented than men, and are not as prone to quick decisions. There have been books written on the subject of the difference between men and women when it comes to investing.
But our interest is on a more personal basis with women in transition. With Catherine’s leadership, my partners and I are in the process of putting together a series of educational (and hopefully fun) events for women in transition. Our goal is to empower women to have the ability to make good financial choices and feel confident about them. We intend to have experts in different fields of wealth management, investments, life planning and peripheral topics such as health and nutrition to live a better life, the importance of sleep to maintain a sharp mind etc.
By Steven R. Wolff, Managing Partner at Wolff, Wiese, Magana
For more information visit: www.wwmfinancial.com
Wolff Wiese Magana is an Investment Adviser registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Wolff Wiese Magana and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. This editorial is solely for informational purposes. No advice may be rendered unless a client service agreement is in place.