Here’s what women want

Published 10:02 pm Thursday, December 11, 2014

By Arie J. Korving

This is not the beginning of an old joke, but a survey conducted by Fidelity Investments of women who are millionaires concluded:

  • These women tend to be more conservative than men in their overall investment holdings and added more conservative instruments over the previous 12 months.

In dealing with women in my practice I find that this is generally true. Women tend to be more risk-averse than men. They are more concerned with capital preservation and less interested in growth if it means an increase in risk.

  • For women, domestic stock mutual funds were the most owned investments (64 percent), while men invested in domestic individual stocks (84 percent).

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This is a logical follow-on from the first point. Women prefer mutual funds, because they are considered less risky than stocks, since mutual funds spread the risk over many different stocks. Men are somewhat more interested in finding individual stocks that they believe have the ability to outperform funds or the market. For some men, buying individual stocks satisfies an urge to take risks, something that women tend to avoid.

  • Women reported feeling less bullish about the market and less wealthy than men.

Being more concerned with keeping what they have, women typically view the market with greater suspicion than men and are less apt to give in to exuberance. This also carries over to how wealthy women feel.

  • Millionaire women tended to be more interested in holistic financial planning (41 percent), while men reported a greater focus on investment returns (50 percent).

This is an interesting finding. I’m reminded of the fact that when couples get lost, it’s the woman who is more likely to want to ask for directions, while men are more likely to try to find their own way. Men, it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.

  • Forty-four percent of women said they needed professional financial advice more than in the past and 49 percent who didn’t already work with an adviser said they would like to find an adviser they trust to manage their assets.

It has been our experience that women with less than a million dollars share the same objectives and views toward investing as their richer sisters.

Arie Korving is a life-long financial adviser and the founding principal of Korving & Co. in Suffolk. Contact him at 638-5494.