Mark M. Martiak
Managing Director Investments, AIF®

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© 2018 Mark Martiak, AIF®  |Managing Director Investments

Women & Investing

The relationship between financial advisors and high income women is sometimes tenuous, because high income women have greater expectations than other affluent investors.

Spectrem’s new e-zine High Income Women Investors details the investment attitudes and concerns of high income women, specifically single women making at least $200,000 and married women with a household income of $400,000. High income women are knowledgeable about investments, but are willing to get assistance from advisors when necessary.

Eighty-one percent of High Income Women use a financial advisor to some degree; only 74 percent of all other affluent investors do so. Almost all High Income Women who use an advisor limit themselves to working with one or two professionals, because of their desire to have a more personal and trustworthy relationship with their advisor.

Of the High Income Women who do not use a financial advisor, their reasons are very similar to all other affluent investors. They think they can do a better job than a professional (38 percent), they don’t believe a financial advisor would be looking out for their best interests (38 percent), or they don’t have enough assets to warrant a financial advisor (23 percent).

The one area where High Income Women are more likely to respond in regards to not using a financial advisor is they simple don’t know who to use (31 percent to only 11 percent of all other affluent investors).


Of the High Income Women who do not use an advisor, 62 percent said they would consider doing so if they came into a large amount of money somehow, and 38 percent said they would do so if they needed professional help and felt they could get it at a fair price.


The High Income Women who use an advisor are on average less satisfied with their advisor than all other affluent investors. Only 59 percent are satisfied overall with their advisor (to 73 percent among all other affluent investors), 67 percent are satisfied with their advisor’s knowledge and expertise (77 percent among others), and 60 percent are satisfied with their advisor’s performance (compared to 71 percent among other affluent investors).

Women Making Their Way To The Top

In The Boardroom.

In 2010, women held 14.4% of C-Level positions at Fortune 500 Companies. The number of woman CEOs of Fortune 500 Companies is also on the rise, in 2012 it reached 3.6% up from less than 1% in the 1990s[1]. Nationwide, women made up 25.4% of CEOs in 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [2]. Women have made up over 50% of the workforce since 2009 and receive over 50% of Bachelor’s Degrees awarded. Compared with their percentage in the general workforce, these numbers may seem bleak, but in fact women have been making headway to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling.


In the technology sector, woman-led companies achieve a 35% higher return on investment than those run by men. When they are backed by venture capital, women-led companies bring in 12% higher revenue than those run by men [3]. A study conducted by Dow Jones VentureSource found that successful startups (defined as those that went public, were acquired or turned profitable) had twice as many women in C-level positions, vice presidents, and board members than those that were unsuccessful. At the successful companies women held 7.1% of executive level positions, compared to 3.1% at unsuccessful firms. Interestingly, those with women as CEOs were less likely to succeed than those with women in other top management positions, though the study does not note why [4].


Women are also making strides in starting businesses, from 1997 to 2012 the number woman-owned firms increased by a rate of 54%, 1.5 times the national average growth rate. Presently, women-owned firms account for 29% of all enterprises and employ 6% of the country’s workforce. The New York – New Jersey Metropolitan Area had a total of 670,100 firms in 2012 [5].



Women have been earning more and more of the advanced degrees awarded each year. From 2009 to 2010 women earned 57.4% of all Bachelor’s Degrees conferred, 62.6% of all Master’s Degrees, and 53.3% of all Doctoral Degrees [6]. The Doctoral figure was up from 47% in the years 1999-2000, with women now in the majority. Women have earned the majority of Bachelor’s Degrees since 1989-1990 study by the National Center for Education Statistics [7]. With this leg up on the competition, we can look forward to future generations of women ascending to greater heights in the working world.

In The General Workforce, Women Still Fall Behind Men In Pay.

It has been 50 years since Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and women still fall behind men in pay. However, it may not be as far as you think. In 2012, women earned 82.2¢ for every dollar, up from 77¢ in 2010. Other researchers have a slightly more optimistic outlook, Cornell University economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn wrote that women brought home 91¢ to the man’s dollar wen adjusted for education, experience, race, industry and occupation, according to their 2007 article for the Academy of Management’s journal “Perspectives” [8].


The workplace is becoming more flexible to parenting and elder-care leave which gives working women, whom care-taking duties often fall upon, more flexibility to continue with their careers as they raise their children [9]. The 2012 National Study of Employers notes that there has been a significant uptick in flex-time for those taking care of elderly family members. In the future, hopefully we can look forward to progressive policies from Scandinavia, where both the mother and father are able to take time off surrounding the birth of their child, being imported to the American workplace. Ideally this would help combat gender based discrimination for promotions based on the assumption of maternity leave. Alternately, as you see more executives in powerful women “Lean In”, taking time off to rear children may fall out of fashion. Without career breaks, women will be able to net more income over their working lifetime.

What does this mean when it comes to managing personal finances?

Women are different.

When preparing for the future, women need to take additional measures to make sure they are as financially secure as their male counterparts. While women have overcome many things, they still have many hurdles of their own to overcome in securing their future financially.


Lean in.

Advocate for yourself in the workplace, advancing your career will help to insure greater financial stability in the future. Have confidence in your work ability and advocate for your worth in the workplace by researching salary ranges, negotiating your starting salary, seeking highly visible positions, networking and asking for raises and promotions. Don’t stick all of your eggs in one basket, always be on the watch for new career opportunities, entrepreneurial ventures, and ways to grow your own business.

Seek help to balance work and family.

If you have children and work outside the home, investigate and negotiate flexible work arrangements that may allow you to keep working, and make sure your spouse is equally invested in household and child-related responsibilities. If you stay at home to care for children, keep your skills up-to-date to the extent possible in case you return to the workforce, and stay involved in household financial decision making. If you’re caring for aging parents, ask adult siblings or family members for help, and seek outside services and support groups that can offer you a respite and help you cope with stress.


Women need to stretch their dollar further, since they still own less than men. They are more likely to face expensive healthcare difficulties as they age. They also live 4.9 years longer than men, so those dollars need to cover them even longer. On top of that, generally women have fewer working years, due to taking time off from their careers for eldercare and child-rearing. Since they will most likely outlive their husbands they could have ultimate responsibility for disposition of the marital estate.


Making their money work for them.

As women continue to earn money, become the main breadwinners for their families, and run their own businesses, it’s vital that they take steps to protect their assets, both personal and business. Without an asset protection plan, a woman’s wealth is vulnerable to taxes, lawsuits, accidents, and other financial risks that are part of everyday life. Women are also more conservative when investing, which means they may not meet their financial goals. Whether they are saving for a home, a college fund, retirement, or a trip around the world, women need to make their money work hard for them.


Women need to become active in the household’s finances, if they aren’t already. Today, women have a financial responsibility to themselves and their families to be active in their financial life. It is critical that women know how to save, invest, and plan for their financial future. In order to grow and stretch their income women should create a budget, manage debt and credit wisely, and set and prioritize their financial goals. Then they should implement a savings and investment strategy to meet these goals.


In order to meet their financial goals, women should actively seek to become knowledgable investors. Learn basic investing concepts, such as asset classes, risk tolerance, time horizon, diversification, inflation, the role of various financial vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs, and the role of income, growth, and safety investments in a portfolio. Look for investing opportunities in the purchasing decisions you make every day. Have patience, be willing to ask questions, admit mistakes, and seek help when necessary.


Protect your assets by identifying potential risk exposureand implement strategies to reduce that exposure. For example, life and disability insurance is vital to protect your ability to earn an income and/or care for your family in the event of disability or death. In some cases, more sophisticated strategies, such as other legal entities or trusts, may be needed.


Create an estate plan to ensure that your personal and financial wishes will be carried out in the event of your incapacity or death. You should consider executing basic estate planning documents such as a will, trust, durable power of attorney, and heath-care proxy.




Talking with a financial professional can help women determine their own financial plan. Women are the key to their own financial futures—it is critical that they take every step to educate themselves about finances, and be able to actively make their own financial decisions. The world of financial planning isn’t always a clear path, sometimes it is best to have a financial professional to help guide you through the woods of investing for your future. Working with a professional that understands a woman’s unique financial needs can greatly benefit you in understanding your options and implementing a plan designed to provide you and your family with financially secure lives.

2018 State Of The Market

March 11, 2018

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