All they only want is love, health for their families, good education for their children, a fulfilling career, some luxurious trinkets thrown in here and there and yes, world peace!
Well, if this post was truly about what women really really want, it would be impossibly long and full of paradoxes. But, this post is about what women do not want.. that is, managing their savings and investments.
There is no doubt in this day and age women can pursue any career they choose to, opportunities are there for them to seize and they are making the most of it. Today you see they are on top of professions and industries which were considered completely out of bounds for women a few years ago.
And yet, you see only a handful of them actually taking much interest in investments especially stocks.
You walk into a dinner party, men congregate together and are talking about sports, money and investment, women slink away to talk of home and kids and the latest fads.
These are not necessarily uneducated women without exposure or opportunities, but are successful career women or educated homemakers. Most of them are multitaskers, running their homes on a budget, manage their kids demanding schedules, manage family’s health issues, research on holidays and look for value for money in every decision they take.
Yet, there is apathy towards money matters. You can blame it on the patriarchal society culture that we had. To some extent it is true that the cause is social conditioning, as earlier men were the only breadwinner and so matters of managing money was the macho domain and a means to exert authority and control over the family.
But now the situation is different. Women are taking home decent pay packets and typically are big savers but they do not go a step further and learn on how the markets function even when there are presented with so many opportunities to do so.
Advertisements and promotions are also targeted primarily towards men, which supports the bias of men and money. You will rarely see a TV spot of an insurance company or mutual funds which present women as the investor. Let me share an incident with you, which depicts the mental bias against women.
Me and my spouse own a time share and were out on holiday at Goa. As usual we got a call from their marketing to fix a meeting where the manager can pitch the benefits of the upgraded membership. We were looking to upgrade so I told him, he can come and meet me at a particular time.
The manager repeatedly asked me if my husband ie “Sir” would be available too. I told him that “Sir” would be at the spa but I could meet him and look at the benefits. The manager saw no point in meeting me alone, despite my assurances that I was perfectly sane and would be in a position to decide the pro & cons of the proposal.
I was indignant, but did see where he was coming from..It would be a waste of his time as rarely will the lady make a financial decision alone. Better for him to meet the man of the house too. He scooted off that evening,probably went and met some other couple.!
Anyway coming back to my grouse, even if they get interested in investments a bit, women are mightily risk averse. Even the mountain climbers, parachute jumpers, scuba divers will want their savings parked in low yielding bank fixed deposits.
There is a trade off ladies!
There was a risk in all of those activities too, but if you are fit, are careful, have the right equipment, things go right most of the time. The adrenaline rush you get after the jump is out of the world.. so it is after you spot a multibagger stock..
There is a term which has got stuck in my head which epitomises women and their attitude towards investments, “Reckless Caution” !
Inflation eats up a lot of the return and if you are too cautious and do not look for opportunities to grow your wealth then it is pity. Women like Gold and Real estate as they are simple physical assets without too many jargons thrown in. But Gold & Real estate may not always be the best fit for you.
It is not a righteous virtue to shake your head and say, “I hate risk.” Not taking enough is also a risk. You do not require a Phd in Math for simple investing in stocks, school level math is enough to get by.
Any how..this is a behavioural issue which can be dealt with if there is enough social awareness. Sometimes there is inertia and ego which come in the way of taking charge of money. Allow me to give you an example.
On a visit to my family doctor, an insurance agent knocked and barged in and asked for some time to see her after I was done. I was aghast at her reply, which in effect said that you speak to my spouse as I do not deal with these matters.
She is a competent, confident busy doctor, when I asked her why is she not interested in investments, her reply was a garbled. “I don’t understand it, too complicated, too confusing, too many jargons…blah blah..”.. I looked at the framed degrees and gold medals decorating her wall and suspected that it was just inertia and to some extent ego which was stopping her from taking control over finances.
Why ego? As ,if you are successful in your field and the money jargons you do not understand, you have to admit ignorance and ask for help and take interest in tedious matters which are not your domain. Better to leave it to the spouse who is confident but not necessarily competent.
My family doctor did get an earful from me that day…on how I do not understand medical terms and find health matters depressing but still take the effort to understand them. As what choice do I have? You ignore this stuff at your own peril.
What Women really want is freedom and control over their full lives.
So more women should get excited and enter into the field of investments and start with taking interest in managing their own money. Understanding investments is not unfeminine, it free s, liberates from limiting mental shackles, and also gives a holistic perspective of what financial goals to set. It is an added responsibility but it is so worth it.
It may also relieve some burden off the men.
Managing Money is not all complex and difficult, how can it be? Men do it!.