Men have greater confidence that a down market will rebound than women do. This probably influences the desire for most women to invest more conservatively. Again, women are less likely to view investing as a competitive sport. They prefer to arrive where they're going safely and soundly and not outperform others on the same course.
In couples, women may frequently defer to their husbands. Women may manage the family checkbook and day-to-day money, but husbands oversee the bigger-ticket investments. Women, therefore, focus more on income, whereas their husbands focus on longer-term accumulation. An income-oriented focus will naturally be more conservative.
More often than not, women are willing to admit what they don't know and, sometimes, are unwilling to make decisions until they feel they know absolutely everything about a subject. Women naturally gravitate toward investment education.
We see more and more women wresting control of investments, but the gender behavior gap remains significant. Working with an adviser keenly sensitive to these differences is a way to ensure our gender-based behaviors and prejudices don't get the better of us.
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Donald E. Askey, a Certified Financial Planner professional and president of Provident Advisory Group, is a registered fee-only adviser, headquartered in Newburyport. For questions, visit www.providentadvisory.com.