Women are a big part of the investing population. Obviously. Are advisers doing enough to address them? I am not sure. Women are single, widowed, divorced – which means they are alone and have to manage their own money.
Many women know a bit about finance, but almost always refuse to learn the full process. I can understand some angst saying “that is the only thing my H does, if I do that also he will just watch TV”. So some women do not want to learn. Simple. Some other women say “My father used to handle, then my H and now my son…:+” – almost saying “Money is a Man thing”. Obviously both approaches are wrong. At some stage a woman will surely be single – for whatever reasons. Whom will she turn to? what if her only son is in USA and out of touch with Indian products? what will she do? who will withdraw from her ATM when she is 83 years of age and unable to withdraw because the ATM is not designed for older people?
So my take for investors and advisers is as follows:
- Most of us are earning money for our family, so managing it should also be a family affair not just a “man” affair. H, Wife, and children about 14 years of age should know what is happening in the family finances.
- If you do not understand what is happening, LEARN. Don’t just say “Investing is so complicated”. It is not. If your H is making it complicated, it is in your interest to simplify things. Do it now.
- If you do not understand make sure that your H keeps far more records in WRITING. Over some time you will surely understand. Involve your children in the process. They can’t shrug, THEY HAVE TO LEARN when your H is still around.
- In many cases the H does not teach because his investment performance is poor. Be careful not to hurt his ego, AT THE SAME TIME get involved and make sure that you have enough money for your important Goals.
If you are suddenly single and can’t manage on your own, seek help. If you are not comfortable with the adviser that your H had chosen, choose a new one. Recently I found a woman who has started work with a “wealth manager”. He has sold her pension plans, life insurance (there is nobody dependent on her) and she has changed the existing agent. I saw the new portfolio (which the old IFA got access to, I have no clue how) – and it is terribly sub-optimal. Her portfolio is bleeding, but the saving grace is that she has a lot of wealth However with such poor understanding she may run aground. People do plan their “Retirement” well, but are just not prepared to be “suddenly single”. You need to be prepared for all such eventualities..
For advisers it is a lesson that they address both the H and W in all their dealings. Not doing this could mean that a woman who is suddenly single may not even know what is your phone number or role in their financial lives.
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