Who is really managing the family investments nowadays, the man or the woman? Lately I’ve been questioning the recurring studies that reveal that men are still making more of the investment decisions for couples. When I ran across this tried but true article on The Financial Brand written by Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors , I just had to share it here because it’s full of real insights.
The article was written in response to The Harvard Business Review post about why the financial services industry is featuring more women focused ads.
Thank you, Ron, for your honesty about who manages your family investments in a household where you are clearly outnumbered by women, with three daughters.
Financial Woman Insights:
Interestingly, articles about who manages the family investments frequently have snide comments about women under them, but it seems that The Financial Brand attracts some pretty honest men. From almost ten years as a women and money writer, and three decades as a married investor and researcher, here’s what I think about who really manages the family money nowadays.
- Men are more likely than women, by nature, to not admit that they don’t know about topics that are considered “manly”. Sorry, guys, but let’s face it; men were the original hunters, the providers. There is still an unspoken expectation around this provider role, possibly compelling men to slightly overstate both their role dominance and their investing abilities. The other possibility is that they actually are more engaged in managing the family investments because of this expectation, but they may not admit that they’re not the sole decision maker.
- Women tend to under rate their abilities and skills. I see it over and over, from highly competent women, especially when it comes to their income abilities. Most women were encouraged to not stand out, and certainly not know more than men about a topic as powerful as money. This dynalic is unspoken, and it’s dying, but it’s still lingers! So, a woman is much more likely to understate her knowledge and abilities when it comes to managing family investments.
- More and more I am hearing from financial advisors that the subtle reality is that the female in the relationship must be on board or the wealth management relationship doesn’t happen.
- Confident men want the women in their lives to be involved with the family investments so that they can manage their own wealth when needed, if they don’t already manage them.
- When I surveyed the list of mostly female Financial Woman readers, the majority of them said that they manage the family investments and wished that their spouses were more involved. This could have been because women who are interested in wealth management are drawn to Financial Woman.
I’ll end with a telling quote from one of the comments on Ron’s article from one of my favorite movies:
“The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.” My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2002