What do Men and Women Want From an Investment Plan?
When couples live together in a committed marriage or partnership, domestic compatibility differences come to light one leaves the cap off the toothpaste and misplaces…
When couples live together in a committed marriage or partnership, domestic compatibility differences come to light one leaves the cap off the toothpaste and misplaces car keys; the other may insist theres just one way to load a dishwasher.
Were not always on the same page as our partner or spouse when it comes to habits and attitudes, but assuming that you have mutual financial goals, you need a clear road map for reaching them together. You might be surprised to learn just how differently men and women approach the journey of investment planning.
Men are generally much more comfortable operating with loose plans, says Greg Shiveley, first vice president of Wells Fargo Advisors Strategic Solutions Group. Women tend to want written, detailed strategies that they can use to measure their progress.
Within couples, the differences go beyond whether one spouse or partner needs to put important details in writing, Shiveley says. A recent study by Wells Fargo Advisors, Personal Investing Attitudes, sheds light on just how men and women differ when it comes to long-range investment planning.
But Shiveley also notes that its critical for both members of a couple to understand the others needs and goals. How else will they successfully collaborate to create clear and cohesive road maps for the years ahead? Its not about adopting his style or her style, he says. Its about creating a plan that reflects each partners concerns and objectives.
Getting to Know You
So where do you begin? First, try to understand from your spouses or partners perspective why he or she set certain goals and how important it is to stick closely to them. Men, consider these simple but illuminating findings about your women partners:
They are more likely than you (97 percent versus 87 percent, respectively) to feel a need for control over their financial futures.
An overwhelming majority of women (96 percent) believe that having an investment plan relieves stress and anxiety. Men feel the same way, but to a lesser degree (83 percent).
Shiveley says that these numbers confirm what he has long suspected that women put a finer point on their investment needs than men. The numbers also reveal that women and men have separate views of what an investment plan is.
From a womans perspective, an investment plan is formalized, process-driven and results-oriented. Women are more likely to say, How do we know if we are saving enough, or too much? Are we on track? Shiveley says.
Men, he adds, paint in much broader strokes. They tend to believe that a plan is simply about having investment instruments in place and making regular contributions.
Another gender difference is that women seem more inclined to consider the impact of key life events on their long-term investing goals, Shiveley says. The percentage differences are substantial:
39 percent of women respondents say receiving an inheritance could strongly or at least somewhat affect their investing approach, compared with only 18 percent of men.
37 percent of women say the death of a loved one would have an impact on their strategy. Only 19 percent of men say their strategy would be similarly affected.
Lets Work Together
At first glance, the genders appear to be far apart when it comes to thinking through their finances. But that doesnt mean they cant find common ground. Shiveley suggests three ways that couples can get their thinking in sync:
1. Start with equal time. Begin the planning process by letting your partner lay out his or her concerns and priorities. Women, you may prioritize saving for long-term goals such as retirement and kids education, while your husband or partner might attach more weight to how best to allocate your familys savings among stocks, bonds and cash. Dont worry if youre not on the same page, Shiveley says. Simply getting these concerns and priorities out in the open is a good first step toward reaching common ground.
2. Use current financial decisions as a springboard. If your different financial points of view have kept you tiptoeing around each other, Shiveley suggests starting with financial changes that are happening right now, such as what to do with a tax refund, planning for a new school year or looking at your quarterly 401(k) reports. No one gets their entire financial future figured out in one conversation, he says, so theres definitely merit in breaking the task down to bite-size pieces.
3. Keep it simple. There are plenty of software programs available to help create detailed plans with countless scenarios. But the object is to get started, even if it means taking small steps. Try using the simple checklist on WellsFargo.coms Retirement Planning page. You can also find online retirement calculators at AARP.com, Bankrate.com and other sites.
Remember, the goal isnt to create the plan thats perfect for just one spouse or partner, who then winds up taking over the reins.
Both of you are pulling for the same team, says Shiveley. Neither partner should feel coerced into adopting the others approach. Instead, you should both have a clearer sense of the most important objectives for each of you and how you plan to achieve them.
This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Terry R. Campbell and Susan Paolo, Financial Advisors in Chardon at 440-286-2553.
Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED / NOT BANK-GUARANTEED / MAY LOSE VALUE. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.
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