Among the myriad differences between men and women you can add this to the list: How they view finances, as well as the relationship they want to have with their primary financial advisor.
“The women I work with want to talk about their money in different ways,” said Deena Katz, a founding partner of Evensky & Katz Wealth Management and an associate professor at Texas Tech University’s personal financial planning department. She spoke today during a packed session in Las Vegas at the 5th Annual Financial Advisor Retirement Symposium, with more than 500 attendees. The conference is sponsored by Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines.
“Women measure success in different ways, and it isn’t necessarily about how much money they’ve accumulated,” Katz said. “The money they’ve made is a vehicle to accomplish other things in life, and it’s not the end-all and be-all. So when we talk with them, we need to be respectful and mindful of that. It’s not about ‘how much money we can make you’ or a conversation about the hot stock of the past 10 minutes. It’s about ‘how can we use this money for good.’ And it makes the conversation so much different.”
Katz’s co-panelist at the session, author and wealth management consultant Hannah Shaw Grove, noted that many of the women she’s conducted research with see financial planning as an important part of preparing for their future, but it’s not something they necessarily get excited about.
“Women as a group see finances and financial management as a necessary evil and something that provides a means to an end,” Grove said. “Because of that, a lot of them realize it’s not an expertise they have and they’re more willing to engage in specialists and experts who can provide the necessary structure and framework to get that means in place to help them.”
She added that women are more likely to establish a plan and stick with it, and to take a long view of things rather than making minor adjustments along the way. They also tend to underestimate their ability to make the right decision. “As a result,” Grove said, “there’s a lot less risk in their portfolios.”
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
But women aren’t a monolithic force, and Grove said there’s a difference between women who’ve created their wealth and those who acquired it through an inheritance.
“Those two groups have some essential differences worth knowing about,” she said. “Those who earn their wealth typically have about half of what people who marry or inherit their wealth have. They also bring their business background to the table. They’re used to making decisions and asking for information and delegating tasks they don’t want to do or can’t do themselves.
“Women who marry or inherit their wealth often haven’t been part of the wealth creation process, so they’re more risk averse and protective of their assets,” Grove continued. “But they’re also more likely to use it to help other people.”