War stories from the battle of the sexes always make for fun reading.
And the latest account of that eternal conflict arrives in the form of a look at how high-net-worth men and women differ in their attitudes toward creating and preserving their wealth.
A survey by Spectrem Group found that high net worth men are more likely than HNW women to credit themselves for their wealth, discounting the impact of financial advisors, inheritance and family connections on their success in building wealth.
But the biggest value of the survey, says Spectrem President George Walper Jr., isn’t in relishing its details about differences between men and women. It is in how the findings can be used by financial advisors. The survey offers advisors valuable insights into how women choose an advisor, and advisors ought to take advantage of that, Walper says.
“The more research we do with wealthy women, the more we get the sense that the advisor industry does not spend enough time in client meetings and prospective client meetings trying to understand how women make financial decisions, including choosing an advisor,” Walper said.
“Quite often, women take longer to choose an advisor (than men do),” he added. “They take their time, they dig into details, they make sure they’re comfortable with the person. But once they choose, they’re far more loyal. So women are a far better client to have. That’s why this should be important to advisors.”
For the survey, in ranking key factors in building their wealth, both men and women rank hard work and education as key factors in building wealth.
But men were also more likely than women to tip their hats to the role played by luck and by being in the right place at the right time.
Spectrem Group does investor research to help financial providers and advisors. For the survey, Spectrem’s definition of HNW is a net worth of $100,000 to $25 million, excluding a primary residence.
Sixty-one percent of HNW men said that taking risks helped them build their wealth. Only 49% of HNW women ranked risk-taking as a factor.
And 38% of men credited luck with helping them, vs. only 31% of women.
Similarly, 39% of HNW men said being in the right place at the right time was helpful, vs. only 31% of women.
In contrast, 44% of HNW women said decisions made by a financial advisor played an important part. Only 33% of HNW men felt that way.
And 10% of HNW women said family connections had helped, whereas only 7% of HNW men said so.
HNW men and women also differed when it came to identifying the socioeconomic and national security issues they worry about.
Women are more likely than men are to worry about political gridlock, terrorism, low interest rates on savings and a Federal Reserve hike in interest rates.
“Women are more concerned about long-term personal finances, in part because they are more likely to outlive their spouse,” Walper said. Women outlive men by about five years. The average woman’s life expectancy is 81.2 years. It is only 76.4 years for men.
“Because of the high cost of health care in old age, women have good reason to be concerned about making sure that their retirement savings outlive them and not the other way around,” Walper added.
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