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Women and investing

By Sheyna Steiner ·
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

A study from Prudential Financial Inc. was released in August, called "Financial experience and behaviors among women." This is the fifth study on women and investing done by Prudential in 10 years.

The study found some good news for women as 95 percent of the respondents said they are directly involved in financial decisions and a quarter are the primary decision-makers. Even better, 84 percent of married women say they are involved in retirement planning, with 15 percent solely responsible for household retirement planning.

Historically, many women would leave the financial planning and investing decisions up to their husbands. They would then need to learn about finances as elderly widows, after their husbands -- usually the chief investment officer of the home -- had passed on.

Luckily times have changed; unless my husband was Warren Buffett, I'm not sure that I would trust him entirely with our finances.

Unfortunately, women still have some ground to cover when it comes to investing confidence. Fewer than two in 10 feel very prepared to make financial decisions.

Who makes the investing decisions in your household? Are responsibilities split or does one person specialize in managing the household finances?

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October 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

As background, the studies are done in the context of industry marketing. Some vendors target Gen X'ers, most cover Boomers and some vendors focus on women. Industry professionals use the materials to market and "land" these individuals.

Women will be in control of assets LONGER than men because they live longer. Fact. Which is why the firms target them.

But, women have ALWAYS had financial control of family finances. That should be no recent realization. However, there is a big canyon between the women who are the bill payers and the women who truly are interested in financial planning. Most people are not interested in retirement planning because people expect that they have already failed. Women tend to not worry about it because... I hate to say this ladies... but they feel it will just be taken care of. (Via husband, company or government) Part of this is they have 500 other things to worry about and part of it is that their husband says he has it covered.

When I say "off" I just mean the studies just talk data and it is hard to interpret financial psychology from the studies. I also think that it is where the starting point is. I came from a household where the female was the breadwinner and handled everything financial so it is hard for me to wrap my head around a marketing piece designed for women...I mean, where is the piece marketing to men? It is just my perspective I guess. 😉

Sheyna Steiner
October 06, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Thanks, edited!

Can you elaborate on why you say the studies seem off?

October 06, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Actually, those studies seem off most of the time. Women have pretty much always "paid the bills" for the household. Women are not as interested in financial planning topics but have always been involved unless the family is wealthy and/or their income is intimately tied to the husband in some way.

BTW - Buffett is spelled with two "t"'s