Women & Investing Survey Finds: Widows = Model Investors

Single, Married and Divorcees Can Benefit From Their Financial Approach


Retirement On the Mind Yet Half of Women Respondents Do Not Participate in a Retirement Plan



NEW YORK, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ — A newly released national survey finds that whether women are single, married and co-habitants, divorced or widowed can have key differences in their attitudes and behaviors with regard to investing.

The OppenheimerFunds, Inc. 2007 Women & Investing Survey (1), released today, found that attitudes about investing differed among marital demographics, especially in the case of widows. Widowed women had more confidence when it came to managing their money, with nearly 65% of widowed respondents giving themselves a rating of 8 or better on a scale of 1-10 when asked how good of a job they are doing managing their money. This compares with nearly 40% of married/co-habitants and single respondents and 52% of divorced respondents who answered in the same way.

“It makes sense that women who are responsible for their own finances through a major life event such as widowhood or divorce have more confidence in their money management skills,” said Lauren Coulston, Assistant Vice President, Advocacy and Training Manager at OppenheimerFunds. “One possible reason for this confidence could be because we see more widows working with financial advisors. Widowed women are often forced to deal with their own finances and appear to approach financial planning methodically. Often financial planning occurs in a time of crisis but it does not have to.”

Widowed respondents were also more likely (almost 68%) to list retirement as their primary investment goal followed by divorced (59%), married/co- habitants (57%) and single (54%), and least likely to cite a lack of extra money as the reason they are not currently participating in a retirement savings vehicle or plan. When asked which source of information they relied on for investing advice, widows accounted for the highest percentage (40.5%), that relied on a financial advisor followed by divorced (17.3%), married/co- habitants (16.7%) and single (11%), and were the least likely group to rely on no source of investment information.

“The fact is, eighty to ninety percent of women will be solely responsible for managing their own finances at some point of their life due to longer life expectancies and higher divorce rates, said Coulston. “Regardless of marital status, financial advisors should bring women into financial conversations as early as possible.”

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What Women Need to Understand About Retirement

The Heinz Family Philanthropies, who along with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), is working to improve the financial futures of millions of women.  

An innovative online book entitled, What Women Need to Understand About Retirement is available for free at www.womensretirement.org and provides the reader with a blueprint to both get started planning a retirement and to grow that investment. It contains seven easy-to-read chapters, each written by an expert on retirement security issues. The book was written as an acknowledgment of the fact that poverty in old age is most often the face of a woman. As you may know, women face a lot of financial difficulties in their senior years. Here are some scary statistics from the publication:

 * Two-thirds of working women earn less than $30,000 a year.

* Nearly half of all women work in low-paying jobs that do not offer a pension or 401(k) plan.

* The median income in 2004 for retired women was $12,080, compared with men’s income of $21,102.

Clearly, it’s important to get this valuable information into the hands of as many women as possible.

Heinz Family Philanthropy

Stereotypes of Wealthy Women Challenged In New Study From Asset Management Advisors

PALM BEACH, Fla./PRNewswire/ — Wealthy women today are not only wealthy, but well educated and working too. They give education and work a high priority, manage their own money and careers, are philanthropic, and want to give their children equal shares in their wealth, a recent study sponsored by Asset Management Advisors (AMA) concluded.

AMA’s CEO, Mel Lagomasino, remarked on the importance of the study findings stating, “Women are key decision makers, making up 46 percent of top wealth holders in the U.S., so understanding their needs, views and approach to wealth is critical to helping families successfully manage their wealth.” With a 20.7% response rate, over 100 women with a combined minimum net worth exceeding $2 billion participated in the study sponsored by AMA. The study focused on women’s approach to wealth management, including their attitudes, values, practices and wealth transfer intentions.

“The study’s findings help debunk some prevalent myths, particularly around affluent women’s involvement, awareness, education and employment,” said Kirby Rosplock, vice president of research & development, who conducted the research. The study is part of a larger, multi-institutional study conducted with Fredda Herz Brown, Ph.D. and Dennis Jaffe, Ph.D., principals at Relative Solutions.

Some of the myths challenged by the study’s findings include the notion that affluent women are not that educated or employed, that they are not interested or involved with the management of their wealth; that women are not communicating about their wealth, specifically their estate plan and wealth transfer intentions to the next generation and women are not interested or focused on legacy planning. On the contrary, many of the research findings provide insights that challenge some of these stereotypical generalizations.

Some key insights gleaned from the study are:  

    -- Surveyed affluent women are not only wealthy, but very well educated:

       Over 60% of the women indicated that the net worth of their household

       was between $5 and $100 million. When asked about the level of

       education completed, over 80% had at least a Bachelor's degree and over

       40% had a Master's or Ph.D.  

    -- A majority of wealthy women work: 53% of the women surveyed are

       employed and manage their own careers.  70% expect family members to


    -- Supporting family members financially with their education is a

       priority: Not only do the women who were surveyed feel it is important

       to be educated themselves, 70% agreed that it is important to support

       family members financially with their education.  

    -- A majority of women concur that they are in control and involved with

       the management of their wealth: When asked to rate the statement, "I

       have control of my wealth," 68% agreed, and over 50% said they are

       actively involved with the management of their wealth.  Women expressed

       the importance of not relying on a man when it came to their wealth,

       and the importance of being educated and knowledgeable about wealth

       management issues.  

    -- A majority of women are talking about wealth in their families and have

       communicated to their children about their estate plan and inheritance.

       Seventy-one percent of women indicated that their families are talking

       about wealth. Over 70% of women agreed that they are talking to

       advisors and spouses about wealth, with 62% of women agreeing that they

       have talked with children about estate plans and 64% of women agreeing

       that have talked with children about their inheritance.  

    -- A majority of women indicate that their families are philanthropic.

       Over 85% of women indicated that their families are currently

       philanthropic, and interviews indicated that women and families are

       volunteering their time, knowledge and expertise as well as their

       dollars. Of special note, 43% of women indicated that they serve on a

       community board(s).  

    -- A majority of women anticipate having their children inherit equally.

       Almost all women with children indicated that some portion of their

       wealth would go to their children, and 95% of mothers surveyed intend

       for their children to inherit equally.

The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

Every once in a while I’ll pick up Forbes magazine if there is something of interest on the cover that I can relate to and have the time to read.  Last week or so I discovered the special report on The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.   It’s an incredibly inspiring report that I’ve saved it for those moments when I think “what else can happen women?” or “how am I ever going to jump over the next hurdle in my career to help women?”  I’ll turn to those pages and get re-inspired all over again. 

Although this report doesn’t exactly have to do with the housing market or what is going on in the San Francisco East Bay real estate market it is certainly worth mentioning in this blog. Anything that has to do with women and the inroads that we make is worthy of being noted in this blog…and beside, don’t you think that most if not all of these women own their own homes AND include real estate in their investment portfolio? Below are a few snap shots of the women in the top 20 of the list. 

The top 100 includes:  

#25. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Senator, is trying to make history as the first female U.S. president.

#26.Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House, House of Representatives Pelosi made history as the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives when the Democrats reclaimed control of the U.S. Congress.

#29.Susan E. Arnold President, global business units, Procter & Gamble is the highest-ranking woman in P&G’s 170-year history.

#30.Andrea Jung Chairman, chief executive, Avon Products The first female head of the world’s premier direct seller of beauty products.

#34.Zoe Cruz Co-president, Morgan Stanley Cruz is the most senior woman on Wall Street.

#36.Ann Livermore, Executive Vice President, Hewlett-Packard She heads HP’s most critical business, its Tech Solutions Group, a $34 billion division.

#39. Tzipora Livni Foreign affairs minister is now increasingly touted as possibly the next Prime Minster of Israel.

#61. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, President, product development, Genentech is widely considered the most powerful woman in biotech.

#64. Sharon Allen, Chairman, Deloitte & Touche, became the highest-ranking woman in the company’s history.

#70. Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chairman, Ernst & Young, is the global vice chair at Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms. She helps manage one of the largest private companies in the world.

#74. Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Chief international correspondent, has captured worldwide respect for her relentless pursuit of scoops. There’s a reason why she is one of the most honored TV journalists in the U.S.

#89. Luisa Diogo, Mozambique’s Prime Minister has made her mark as an anti-poverty and health advocate and has recently focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment.  

#95. Mary West Cofounder, West Corp, is one of only ten self-made women billionaires.  

#100. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia is the first female president of an African nation to get the war-torn country back on track and on the international investment radar screen.

To read the whole report click on the following link, 100 Most Powerful Women. 




















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