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NATIONWIDE SURVEY FINDS: WOMEN EXPRESS CONFIDENCE IN THEIR INVESTMENT ABILITIES AS GENDER, CULTURAL BARRIERS FALL

 NATIONWIDE SURVEY FINDS: WOMEN EXPRESS CONFIDENCE IN THEIR
 INVESTMENT ABILITIES AS GENDER, CULTURAL BARRIERS FALL
 NEW YORK, May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Women believe that investing is not a "man's job" -- and men agree, according to the results of a nationwide survey of 2,021 men and women released here today.
 The survey was commissioned by Oppenheimer Management Corporation (OMC), one of the nation's leading mutual fund families. It was designed to explore how women behave and what they believe when it comes to money management and investing -- and how those attitudes and practices compare to men.
 Of the 1,018 women surveyed, 90 percent said that investing isn't a man's job -- and 85 percent of the 1,003 men surveyed agreed.
 "The cultural barriers are falling," said Bridget A. Macaskill, president of Oppenheimer Management Corporation. "Men no longer consider investments their exclusive domain and women no longer believe some knight on horseback will come along to sweep them off their feet and take charge of their finances forever more."
 The survey found that most women think they're doing a good job managing their money and the vast majority of women (88 percent) would be confident investing a $10,000 windfall. Similarly, 89 percent of all married men would be confident in their wives' ability to invest $10,000.
 The nationwide survey of 2,021 adults ages 21 and over was conducted by telephone between March 11 and March 19 by the Wirthlin Group, an independent national polling firm. The margin of error for the total sample of 2,021 men and women is plus or minus 2.2 percent. The margin of error for single-gender responses is plus or minus 3.1 percent. The margin of error for married or cohabiting respondents is plus or minus 2.7 percent. The margin of error for single-gender married or cohabiting respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percent.
 Women Less Involved With Long-Term Planning Issues
 The survey found that while women play a lead role in the day-to-day management of household finances, they are less involved with longer term financial planning issues like taxes, insurance or investments.
 Of the women surveyed who were either married or cohabiting, 60 percent said they were solely responsible for balancing the checkbook, 56 percent said they had sole responsibility for paying bills, and 38 percent said they were responsible for developing and maintaining the family budget.
 On the other hand, only 12 percent were solely responsible for making investments, and only 17 percent handled the insurance.
 "Women in general -- but married women in particular -- are more involved with day-to-day finances than they are with investment decisions, but that will change," Macaskill said. "We think the survey points to an era of much broader financial involvement for women. Women have the smarts, the disposition, and the confidence to invest successfully; what they've lacked is the experience."
 "Let's face it: between their responsibilities at home and in the work place, women have found it difficult to make time for investing," Macaskill said. "But women are increasingly aware of the need to gain control of their financial future. In the '70s and '80s, women discovered their earning power. In the '90s, they must discover the power of investing."
 Macaskill said that most women can expect to get involved with investments during their lifetime. It is estimated that between 80 percent and 90 percent of all women will hold sole responsibility for their finances at some time in their lives.
 "The demographics are compelling," Macaskill said. "The vast majority of women will be solely responsible for their financial well- being at some point. Unfortunately, many women come to grips with the need for a financial plan in the wake of an emotional crisis, such as divorce, the loss of a job or the death of a spouse. These events can be even more traumatic when one's finances are in disarray. Men and women alike need to view financial planning as an essential and ongoing responsibility."
 Women Confident, But Knowledge Lags
 While their confidence level is high, the survey found that women's knowledge of investments is low -- absolutely and relative to men. Among the findings:
 -- 69 percent of the women surveyed didn't know that stocks have historically outperformed bonds, CDs, savings accounts, and money market accounts (vs. 53 percent of men);
 -- 89 percent had no idea of the level of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the bellwether index of stock market performance (vs. 69 percent of men);
 -- 62 percent said that they don't understand how a mutual fund works (vs. 50 percent of men);
 -- 77 percent didn't understand the relationship between interest rates and bond prices (vs. 65 percent of men).
 Importantly, women don't claim to know it all when it comes to investing. More than half (53 percent) of all women believe that, in general, men know more than women when it comes to investments while 30 percent believe men and women know about the same.
 "The good news is that women know they have to move up the learning curve, and many of them seem genuinely interested in doing so," Macaskill said. "In any event, lack of knowledge should never be confused with a lack of ability."
 Cooperation Between the Sexes
 Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to money, there is a strong degree of cooperation in most relationships.
 Only 12 percent and 13 percent of men and women respectively thought it would create conflict with their spouse if they assumed a more active role in managing the family's finances.
 More than 95 percent of all respondents -- men and women -- said they generally discuss a major investment before it is made. Ninety- three percent of men and 89 percent of women said their spouse or loved one would be able to handle the household finances were they to die or become incapacitated.
 Only 35 percent of men and 33 percent of women report having argued with their spouse or loved one about a financial matter in the last six months.
 When asked whether they would rather go to the dentist or discuss family finances with their spouse for an hour, 74 percent of men and 72 percent of women said that they would rather discuss family finances.
 "Our survey suggests that the popular notion that money is a constant source of conflict in most relationships is out of date," Macaskill said. "With the great increase in dual-income households, management of family finances is emerging as a shared responsibility. The truth is that men and women are pretty good about communicating on family finances."
 Implications for Financial Services Industry
 The survey found that women and men alike believe that financial advisors do not treat women with the same respect that they show to men.
 Fifty-seven percent of all women respondents thought women were treated with less respect than men by stockbrokers and financial planners. And 54 percent of all men agree.
 Despite the perception that women are not treated with the same respect as men, OMC research has shown that stockbrokers and financial planners are the first place women would seek financial advice.
 "Financial advisors can play an increasingly important role in helping women to take charge of their financial futures," Macaskill said. "But this will only happen if women believe they will be treated with the same respect as men. Women don't want special treatment; they want equal treatment."
 Oppenheimer Management Corporation and its subsidiaries manage more than 50 mutual funds with assets of $19.0 billion in over 1.5 million shareholder accounts, as of 3/31/92. OppenheimerFunds are distributed by Oppenheimer Fund Management, Inc., Two World Trade Center, New York, N.Y. 10048-0203.
 For OppenheimerFunds' free 24-page booklet entitled "Women and Investing," please call 1-800-892-4442 or write OppenheimerFunds, P.O. Box 173304, Denver, Colo. 80217-9557.
 -0- 5/20/92
 /CONTACT: Rob Densen, 212-323-0597, or Mark Edison, 212-323-0534, both of Oppenheimer Management / CO: Oppenheimer Management Corporation ST: New York IN: FIN SU: ECO


KD-OS -- NY002 -- 2174 05/20/92 08:16 EDT
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Date:May 20, 1992
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