When my son and daughter were in grade school, I turned every shopping trip into an exercise in investment research. Mostly these outings were successful in building their understanding of economics and investing. Sometimes, though, my children would shrink in embarrassment as Mom lectured a poor, hapless employee on the merits of customer service. (Do-over, please!)
Still, those trips resonated with them, and as adults, they manage their investments with the same awareness and insight as many professionals.
These teaching moments with my children showed me something that research confirms: Women have financial knowledge to pass on because we are hard-wired with the traits that make excellent investors. It’s a shame most of us express a lack of confidence in money matters.
Here’s what women and their daughters need to remember:
Don’t pass on your financial decisions
UBS, in a recent study, measured the percentage of women “deferring” investment and financial decisions to their husbands. Deferring is rampant among women of all ages but especially among younger ones. Fifty-nine percent of women ages 20 to 34 leave financial matters to their spouses. This is higher than the 55% of women at least 51 years old who defer to their husbands. The trends are worsening, rather than improving.
The research demonstrates that women make better investors than men. We do more research, trade less and process multiple data points effectively between our left and right brain hemispheres. Important traits for investing. Why then do we excuse ourselves from the conversation?
Most women view investing as “sport” or too risky. Yet, over the long-term, investing in stocks is not the risky activity. It’s not investing that produces the greatest risk to our future financial security. After-inflation, stocks have returned an average of 5% compounded annually since 1900. Savings accounts can’t keep up with inflation at current rates.
And here are tips to improve the financial IQ of your daughters (and yourself):
- Incorporate investment research into your daily activities. Talk to your friends about brands they love, interview store clerks while checking out, note the makes and models of cars in the pickup lane after school. (When I taught college every single student in my class had an Apple laptop. Valuable information!) Spend 15 minutes at the end of your day reviewing news articles. This will increase your knowledge and confidence.
- Talk about products your children like and why. Young people often identify trends before we do. My sporty kids loved Nike. We discussed their reasons over dinner and made a list. “I like the swoosh” or “Because Tiger Woods uses Nike” translate into dominant brand power. Companies with iconic brands tend to survive. And thrive.
- Open a brokerage account for your children and match their savings. Then buy one share in the companies they identify. And keep talking.
Visit the Women & Wealth page to learn about our resources geared towards women’s unique views of wealth management.