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Women Investors Rate Performance Over Planning

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What do women want? Pretty much the same things men do, at least where financial advice is concerned, a new survey by Schwab Advisor Services says.

In an on-line poll of 500 women with average investable assets of $1.3 million (the median was $890,000), the option of greatest importance was “having continuous, good investment performance,” representing 58 percent of replies. “Having a long-term financial plan” placed a more distant second, at 39 percent.

“I think there’s a belief in the industry that what women really care most about is planning,” Neesha Hathi, Schwab’s senior vice president for technology solutions, told me today. “There’s a perception out there that men care more about performance and women care more about the planning. … For an advisor to serve this demographc effectively, they really need to be thinking about both.”

The survey dovetails with another report earlier this week, which my colleague Diana Britton wrote about, that warns advisors against generalizing on the financial needs of women clients. The Women of Wealth study, commissioned by the Family Wealth Advisors Council, found that women investors’ needs varied greatly depending on a wide range of characteristics, such as marital and employment status.

Among other findings in the Schwab survey:

• 49 percent of women who were married or living with a partner had their own investment account, separate from a retirement account.

• 24 percent of women who were married or had a partner said they were the primary decision-maker on household investments; 60 percent said they shared decisions with their significant other.

• 87 percent of women said they had no gender preference for an financial or investment advisor, while 47 percent said they had no age preference. Of those who did have an age preference, 25 percent preferred advisors in their 50s while 22 percent preferred advisors in their 40s.

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