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Women's Money

By Dian Vujovich

Locally, UBS has been offering a series of investment programs specifically targeted at women. Why financial institutions don’t focus more on that market is beyond me. Everybody knows that women have always had a lot of say when it comes to how money gets invested either directly or indirectly in their family. And are often smarter than they let on.

The woman in charge of her own finances or her family’s certainly does. Those who aren’t know precisely how to communicate their money feelings to their spouses. The female who doesn’t fit into either category suffers. I personally don’t know too many who suffer. Although some pretend to be financially ignorant, few truly are.

I attended one of UBSs recent lunch programs. Highlights from it: The number of female CEOs grew from 10 percent in 2002 to 24 percent in 2007; women receive 50 percent less than men do from pensions; 76 percent of what men receive in Social Security; have fewer assets in their 401(k) accounts; earn less than guys; and have 50 percent the amount of life insurance men have.

Lowlights: Who knows why but there were only two of us in attendance.

A recent Scottrade poll taken this July (627 men and 516 women were interviewed) revealed women to be less confident about their investing ability than men. But when comparing portfolio returns over the last 12 months, the value of their portfolios was equal.

The survey also showed that woman struggle more with understanding investing terminology than guys (29 percent found terminology to be challenging vs. 7 percent of the men interviewed).

That understanding part doesn’t surprise me. Financial jargon couldn’t be more boring. Still, women have taken it upon themselves to learn about investing and more about the economy due to necessity and recent economic conditions. And as I wrote earlier, are often quite brighter about money matters than they show. Guess that’s a coy thing.

I wish someone would do a study about women’s instincts, money and investing. I bet the results would blow the guys in suits out of the water. That in turn might translate into some fresh financial literacy exchanges. And reveal to the male dominated financial arena that women might prefer learning about investing from women who know and understand how their gender basically thinks and feels about the stuff that makes the world go ’round. Including how to save, spend, invest, pass it on and give it away.

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