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What Women Know About Money

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Want to know the secret to successful investing during turbulent times? Talk to a woman. Just don’t ask her for retirement advice.

A number of recent studies reinforce the idea that women are superior investors. Earlier this summer, a Barclays Capital and Ledbury Research study found that women are more likely to make money in the market because they take fewer risks. Last week, a Merrill Lynch survey found that men speak with their financial adviser more frequently than women do, a difference that researchers attributed to women’s more thoughtful investment approach. And a survey of investment site Betterment.com users found that men were twice as likely to have withdrawn all their money from the market during last week’s volatility. “Women are more the set-it-and-forget-it investor,” says Betterment.com chief executive Jonathan Stein.

But that laid-back approach might actually be a bit too relaxed. In Cosmopolitan magazine’s 2011 “Great Female Survey,” only 14% of women said they have a retirement plan and are actively saving money for retirement. A whopping 46% said they haven’t even thought about retirement and 9% said they “have a plan, but [are] not ready to start saving money.” Maybe that’s because more than 60% of women surveyed expect to need $1 million or less to retire comfortably. (News flash, ladies: you’ll almost certainly need more than that, depending on when you plan to retire and how much you expect to spend. Check out our retirement planner to see how much you’ll actually need.)

If inertia is both benefit and downfall for women, the male disadvantage is testosterone, which studies have shown leads to more risk-taking, says Frank Murtha, a managing partner at Market Psych, LLC, a financial psychology consulting firm. “Men tend to invest more of their ego and their emotions,” he says, and many are looking to “get back at” the market for their losses in 2008. But seeking revenge on an inanimate object rarely works in your favor. “Any time you find yourself serving your own emotional needs rather than serving the needs of your finances, it’s a bad situation,” Murtha says.

Investors should take a tip from women and think more about how ongoing market ups and downs fit into their long-term plan and the economic big picture. “It’s essential that people recognize that even though this past week was extremely volatile, this is far from over,” Murtha says. Male and female investors can also benefit from using tools like an automatic rebalance to buy and sell as needed — no more, and no less, Stein says.

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      Qualcomm Investing in Sharp to Push IGZO Display Technolog…
      MacRumors
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    • I don’t get it.. My understanding is that if the money is a given thguroh a supplemental process rather than a budgetary process than there is no oversight on how the money is spent. Congress can limit the supplemental with the intention to deny funds for certain projects or programs,but Bush doesn’t have to account once the money is allocated. Bush will just spend it how he wants and then go back to congress with his hand out claiming that the troops are being denied essentials and America’s combat readiness is impaired because Congress doesn’t care for the safety of our troops. It seems to me that it will just be more game playing. No pun intended,but Congress has to stop beating around the bush and state that Bush has failed as a president, and that they are going to hold hearings with goal imposing some form of accountability for all the lies, deceits, the law breaking, and the intentional structuring of schemes designed to deny Congressional oversight and accountability to any authority. Bush is not going to cooperate with Congress until he knows that the game is up, and Congress is determined to remove him from power. How about an impeachment advisory panel with subpoena power? That oughta make is ears perk up and get his attention.

    • Practical economics is NOT taught in public schools.

    • Spenders VS Savers
      Male or female

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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