Father Knows Best...Or Does He?

The stats are in: women are better savers and investors than men. Mother knows best. But “Mother” has to take the plunge and have confidence in herself.

Remember that TV show in the 1950s and 1960s? Dad’s job description was to work, take care of the car, and handle all money issues. He could fix the leaky faucet, rake the leaves and make sure the bills were paid on time. We were all raised to think that, “Father Knows Best.”

Mom’s job description was simple. She was supposed to get her “Mrs.” in her early 20’s, have babies, and stay at home to take care of the kids, the laundry, and the food shopping. If she did work outside the home, she was supposed to hold down a “Pink Collar” job, such as a secretary, teacher, or nurse. In those days, even working, single women were encouraged to get financial advice from her dad, brother, or uncle. Women were taught to think that not only were they not good at handling money, they were not good at math.

Men Will Never Stop And Ask For Directions; Women Will

Women have come into their own. They can fry up the bacon, hold down a career and breastfeed all at the same time. Yes, they also handle their own money. But, the financial world has discovered that men and women come to the money part of their world in different ways, and that “Father” may not know best!

When it comes to retirement, U.S. News reported that, “Men may approach retirement as an extended vacation, while women are likely to focus more on the unknowns presented by this life stage.” Women know that they are expected to outlive men, and therefore are more likely to be in the caretaker role. They want to make sure that they are covered financially for that eventuality. Will they be able to keep their spouse in their home? Will there be enough funds to cover any extra care, medications, and/or therapy? Let’s just say that women tend to be more realistic.

Women look at the long-term — what’s the money for… not the immediate return. I advise women not to look at financial planning under stress. If you do, you will not be making sound long-term decisions. If you haven’t yet, it is now time to look at your wills and guardianships. Make sure that your wishes are clearly articulated. Think about getting insurance to provide for the kids if you and your partner are not there. You also need to make sure there is enough insurance for your guardians to carry out your wishes.

Women understand that even saving a little now can make a big difference in the long run, but they are torn with the immediate needs for their kids or loved ones and may push this off. Consider this: saving just $100 a month, beginning at age 30, could easily compound to $172,000 at age 65, assuming a 7 percent annual return. That sum of money will make a difference and means that you would have saved $42,000, and the miracle of compounding did the rest. Play with an investment calculator online, and see how the time value of money is truly a miracle. Many women still don’t feel comfortable investing. Find professionals who will make you feel comfortable.

Start with what your future life will look like. My daughter even helped me to imagine myself as an 85-year-old woman. What would my life look like? Where would I live? I need to make decisions today to protect that 85-year-old me. Healthcare, in-home or in a nursing facility, can incur huge costs. Most of us really don’t want to be a burden on our kids. Social Security, under the best of circumstances, even if you are earning the maximum, will probably not cover your needs. Your savings can prevent you from going into a nursing home or the home of one of your children.

News Flash: Women Are Kicking Butt When It Comes To Money Management

Fidelity Investments found that women save more money than men. When they looked at salaries, women saved 8.3 percent versus 7.9 percent for men. (Don’t ruin the thesis of my article by rounding this up. A little more money over a lifetime really adds up.)

The issues come into play when women don’t put their needs for saving ahead of other pulls. We are wives and mothers and grandmothers. There will always be the pull from a child, who needs new soccer shoes, or from the college student who needs a new computer, or from the high schooler who wants the amazing dress for her prom. I get it. But this is the time to take a step back and shop the discounters to get the best deal on the shoes or computer or prom dress. Allow the kids do that. There are even lots of “retro” or used clothing stores that sell or rent fancy dresses and shoes. Make it a challenge for the kids, and explain that the money is coming out of your savings.

Investopedia reported on a study by Betterment, showing that women investors outperform men annually by about 1 percentage point. Why? Because women are in there for the long haul. They do not day-trade to “win.” Female investors signed into their accounts 45% less frequently than men and changed their asset allocation 20% less frequently than male investors did. Women keep their eye-on-the-ball of the long-term goal and are less likely to be swayed by the quick hit. They will take less risk than men. Many men will listen to the news or to their friends and indulge in, what Betterment called, “erratic behavior” and dump their stocks or buy when news changes. By definition, if you have this knee-jerk reaction to news, you are selling when the stock is low and buying when it is high. Not the best investment strategy for long-term growth.

The “take-away” from this? Women are better savers and investors than men. Mother knows best. But “Mother” has to take the plunge and have confidence in herself. Her instincts are great. Don’t over complicate the decision. Set goals, save, invest, and stick to your plan.

(reprinted from Forbes)

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