Labor of Love: Women and Investment Decisions

By: Tiffani Sargent Email
By: Tiffani Sargent Email

March 3, 2010

At the risk of bringing up an issue that could get an argument going at your house, CBS19's Tiffani Sargent takes a closer look at one of the labors of love: dealing with money. Dan Schutte explained why men have historically made investment decisions in a marriage. However, some researchers say women should be making the investment decisions.

Ever wonder why men don't stop and ask for directions? Well, Dr. Ronald Wilcox says it could be the same reason why many women should be making the big investment decisions.

"Men don't like to ask for directions because they have to admit they've made a mistake, because they didn't know where they were going when they started," said Dr. Wilcox, whose research is part of The National Marriage Project.

Dr. Wilcox, who works at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, spent the last four years studying financial behaviors of men and women in The Marriage Project. He says history shows that men have nearly always made the major, long-term financial decisions, but research shows they might want to consider consulting their wives.

"Not just in asking for directions, but when new information comes in to conflict with what they thought was reality, women are more apt to incorporate that information into their decision making," said Dr. Wilcox.

According to the study, women are also less apt to view a retirement portfolio as a competition or a game, and are therefore less likely to tinker with it incessantly.

"That's right. It's not as much fun for them and they would be more interested in kind of preserving the nest egg. Men typically will approach financial decisions as the same way they look at a football game," said Dr. Wilcox.

This competitive attitude, Dr. Wilcox says, could lead to a financial fumble.

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