There are telling differences between millionaire women and men as to how big a role they perceive certain factors play in wealth creation.
Saturday marks International Women’s Day, a near-century-old celebration of social, political and economic advancements made by women. The annual observance also serves as a marker of where they are now and how far they have yet to go. In reflecting on how they got from there to here, Millionaire women surveyed by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner are as equally likely as their male counterparts to credit hard work for their financial success. But there are telling differences between millionaire women and men as to how big a role they perceive other factors play in wealth creation.
Women, who face unique workplace and economic challenges, from salary inequality to the corresponding diminished retirement plan savings, place a higher premium on frugality than do men (84 percent vs. 78 percent), and less on luck (40 percent of Millionaire men vs. 34 percent of women).
Millionaire women, too, are slightly more likely than men to credit smart investing for their financial success (82 percent vs. 79 percent), but women, who tend to be more thoughtful and deliberate investors, according to several national studies, are more prone to be risk averse. Half credit taking risk as a primary factor in obtaining their wealth vs. nearly two-thirds of men (64 percent).
It follows then that Millionaire women more than men are likely to credit decisions made for them by their financial advisor for their wealth (46 percent vs. 34 percent). Ongoing research conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner finds that women consistently profess less confidence in their financial knowledge, and express a greater appreciation than men for wealth management services. Only 13 percent of Millionaire women consider themselves “very knowledgeable” about financial products and investments vs. 28 percent of millionaire men. Conversely, 24 percent of women at this wealth level say they are “not very knowledgeable, but do understand some things” vs. just 8 percent of millionaire men.
Millionaire women are less likely than their male counterparts (23 percent vs. 33 percent) to identify themselves as self-directed investors, meaning that they make all their own financial decisions. The flip side of that is that 16 percent say they rely solely on a financial advisor vs. 11 percent of male millionaires.
Two of the primary benefits women find in working with a financial advisor are being able to delegate responsibility to an expert and the peace of mind they say working with a financial advisor gives them.
Moira Forbes, in Forbes, notes 10 reasons for women to feel optimistic on International Women’s Day. They range from an increase in women pursuing education in STEM fields (which have more earning potential) to a record showing on Forbes’ billionaires list (172 women made the list, up 25 percent over 2013).
Yet women continue to lag behind men in expectations. Half of millionaire women expect their personal financial situation will be stronger one year from now, vs. 56 percent of men.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.