Women are Different
Women and men are different in many ways, and that certainly includes how we think about investing. Our feelings about risk are different. Many women want and need security first. Due to our typically shorter working lives, lower pay (on average) for the same work, and longer life spans, we may have smaller retirement funds which must last longer. Many of us learned at an early age that we should let the men in our lives handle our finances, and we are adjusting to changing that mindset. For the majority of women, at some point in our lives, we and we alone will be responsible for handling our own financial affairs. So, it is important that we not let this past mindset impede our ability to move forward and take charge of our own financial affairs.
Here is a list in no particular order, of some of the ways women and men are different. These are generalizations of course; we all know exceptions to each one, both male and female. Some are fun, but all are “true” according to research.
- Women are less likely than men to feel that their financial situation is better than that of others at the same socio-economic level.
- Women are more risk-averse investors than men.
- Women are far more likely than men to buy things they do not need.
- Women are less likely than men to be satisfied with their ability to reach long-term goals.
- Despite fifty years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women still, on average, earn twenty percent less than men for the same work.
- Single parent women are two times as likely as single parent men to be below the federal poverty level.
- Women are more empathetic than men. The emotional portion of our brains is stimulated just as much by watching a partner in pain, as it is when they themselves are in pain.
- Women ask for directions – they are more likely to seek out the help of a financial advisor, particularly when in transition: divorce, death of a partner, job loss. (see www.directionsforwomen.com)
- Women connect by talking and sharing stories.
- Women will play down their personal successes or accomplishments (or wealth) to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable.
- Women vent, men compete.
- When faced with stress, women tend and befriend, men fight or flee.
- Women are more likely to be under-confident when it comes to managing their investments – and assume they do not know enough to do a good job. Men, by contrast, are more typically over-confident, thinking they know more than they actually do.
- Women live longer than men by, on average, 5-7 years. However, if you factor in the probability of a woman marrying a man who is older than herself, then she is likely to survive her husband, and potentially live alone, for a significantly longer period of time.
- The most important financial goals for women are usually security, and the ability to take care of themselves.
- Women are far more likely than men to involve their partners in financial decision-making.
- Women’s out-of-pocket drug costs in retirement are approximately 50% higher than men’s.
- Women are more likely to start their own business to achieve more work-family balance, whereas men start their own firms to “be the boss.”
- Men’s brains are hard-wired to take action, whereas women’s brains are hard-wired to think it through.
- Women entrepreneurs are much more likely to discipline an under-performing employee and to fire a non-performing employee than male entrepreneurs.
- Women have a harder time getting financing for a business start-up than men. As a result, women entrepreneurs are more likely to start non-capital intensive businesses (e.g., service companies) than men.
- Young women usually start new ventures with a social purpose in mind (e.g., saving the environment) whereas young men are focused on enterprises that will make money.
- Women report that they could not live without the internet, sleep, or showers, whereas men report they could not live without the internet, sleep, and sex.
AND for a final bonus, did you know that:
- Women are significantly more likely to wash their hands after using a public restroom than men.