An interesting article was published on the News.com.au website today written by Kate Perry - Women Scared of Investments. Kate looks at the lack of confidence on the part of women to tackle investment decisions. Of course this is a broad generalisation but it is based on a report released by the Financial Literacy Foundation - the Women Understanding Money report.
I wonder whether there may actually be a cultural dimension to this discussion. My wife has a Chinese heritage with her family living in Indonesia for a couple of centuries. Two of her Aunts, from her mother's side, are very much the investors in their families. One is actually what might be referred to as a day trader. From my brief involvement with the Chinese community in Indonesia and Australia, Chinese women are not particularly shy in making investment decisions.
However I digress, I wonder whether the issue might actually be that investment scenarios, especially in terms of non bricks and mortar decisions, are not appropriately developed or explained to women in Australia and it is this explanation that is the key to their hesitancy.
There seems to be a lot of bravado / ego in investment circles. I imagine that this is a function of investors looking for that next best investment and the belief that they have found the answer. My sense is that women don't respond as well to this bravado but would much prefer to have investment decisions accurately and carefully set out based on hard facts not hopes or dreams.
Some of us mere males might suggest that we can see the female approach to decision making when it comes to their domain - shopping. Why does it take so long? Why do we have to check out every single store before making the decision? Just pick up the .... and let's get going! When it comes to purchasing decisions, women are very calculating and want all the information and possibilities on the table before making their choice. Or at least that's what they tell us.
On this point, I actually think women also want to see value for money in all transactions that they make. The level of fees charged by some financial institutions can make it difficult for that value to be identified.
Anecdotally, my business partner and I often comment when we meet with couples that it is the female that seems to get our philosophy before the male. (Another broad generalisation) We have an investment philosophy that is based on academic research clearly setting out what investment returns have been through history and how best to capture those returns in an investment portfolio. I think this is what women in general are looking for rather than the "trust me, I am an expert" line.