Women are more likely than men to self-report a lack of confidence in their financial and investment acumen.
Whether it is actually the case, several national studies find that women are less confident in their financial knowledge than men and more likely to self-report a comparative lack of confidence in their financial and investment acumen, Divorcees and widows feel especially vulnerable on this front, according to a recent Spectrem Group Whitepaper, Women in Transition: Widows and Divorcees, which examines in part their attitudes and working relationships with financial advisors.
Six-in ten affluent widows surveyed by Spectrem Group consider themselves only fairly knowledgeable, compared with 59 percent of divorcees. The latter are more likely than widows to indicate they are very knowledgeable about financial products and investments (14 percent vs. 9 percent).
This translates into a greater likelihood that women in transition will rely more on a financial advisor than men, Spectrem research finds. Twenty-one percent of widows indicated they are advisor-dependent, meaning a financial advisor makes all or most of their investment decisions. Sixteen percent of divorces likewise describe themselves as advisor-dependent. In comparison, 13 percent of men describe themselves similarly.
Conversely, divorcees (21 percent) and widows (20 percent) are significantly less likely than men (34 percent) to identify themselves as self-directed investors, meaning they make all of their own investment decisions.
Widows and divorcees surveyed by Spectrem Group are most likely to use a full service broker as their primary advisor. Widows next most prefer an independent financial planner, while divorcees opt for an investment manager.
Spectrem Group interviews with widows and divorcees underscore their contrasting individual needs and unique concerns. Widows believe their spouses made good preparations for them and want to protect their assets. Divorcees generally feel they are “better off” without their husbands and want to grow their assets. Generally younger and perhaps still working, their investment risk tolerance is somewhat greater than that of widows, who, in many cases, face the challenge of being constrained to a lifetime with a specifically outlined amount of available assets.
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.