A new Millionaire Corner study on “Women in Transition” finds that widows are nearly twice as likely as divorcees to identify themselves as conservative investors.
Nearly one-third (31 percent) of widows indicate they invest conservatively compared with 17 percent of divorcees, A majority of widows and divorcees (61 percent and 68 percent, respectively) say they are moderate investors.
Men, on the other hand, are much more likely than both groups to identify themselves as aggressive investors—22 percent, vs. 14 percent of divorcees and just 6 percent of widows.
There are between 700,000 and 800,000 women who are widowed each year, according to U.S. Census. Their conservative mindset is not surprising. Research studies find that women are more thoughtful investors than men and less confident in their abilities or knowledge. 63 percent of widows, for example, consider themselves only fairly knowledgeable about financial products and investments, but still have a great deal to learn, compared with 59 percent of divorcees,
Twenty-five percent describe themselves as not very knowledgeable vs. 22 percent of divorcees. This is again understandable. Divorcees tend to be younger and are more likely still in the workplace. The average of Millionaire widows is 70, while the average of of Millionaire divorcees is 62. Eighty-two percent of Millionaire divorcees are retired, compared with 51 percent of Millionaire divorcees.
Women are more likely than men to express concern about running out of money in retirement (46 percent vs. 41 percent), according to a Millionaire Corner investor survey conducted last month. They are also more likely to regret not saving enough for retirement. Their feelings of financial vulnerability can be heightened when they become widows, even though many had taken on the role of financial decision maker when their spouses were alive.
In keeping with their more conservative investment mindset, widows are more likely to believe it is more important that they protect their principal rather than grow their investments (58 percent cs. 45 percent). Widows, according to our research, are also more likely than divorcees (52 percent vs. 47 percent) to want to be involved in the day-to-day management of their investments. This is most likely because they have more time to devote to their portfolio.
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.