Research published by Spectrem in 2011 and repeated often shows that 70% of widows fire their advisor within a year of their husband’s death. However, a new report from Russell Investments came to the opposite conclusion.
Russell Investments released a study in mid-February that found majorities of women would stay with their advisor even if their spouse or partner died. The report is based on two surveys conducted by Mathew Greenwald & Associates in March 2013; one among more than 900 female investors and a smaller survey of 340 advisors.
Russell found 93% of silent generation women, those born between 1925 and 1942, would stay with their advisor, while 78% of Gen X women would do the same. Furthermore, 64% of silent generation women and 54% of Gen X women said they have recommended their advisor to someone else.
“We felt that there has been a lot of information put out on the boomer generation, but less so on Gen X and the silent generation,” Jaylene Howard, consulting director for Russell Investment’s U.S. private client consulting group, told ThinkAdvisor on Monday.
Advisors’ perception of their female clients is that they are more likely to think long term than men, the report found. More than half said their female clients were more likely to focus on long-term planning issues, compared to just 5% who said the same of male clients.
“Women think a lot about long-term issues and worry about issues like how to plan for retirement and health care expenses, and yet the action that they take in relation to their worry isn’t quite as high,” Howard said. “If there is concern and if there is, I think even more important, interest in focusing on longer term issues, than the plan can be a step-by-step way to get there.”
Both Gen X and silent generation women share financial responsibilities with their spouses for the most part. More than half of Gen X women said they split responsibilities, although nearly 30% said they have more responsibility than their spouse. Among silent generation women, 63% share responsibilities and 24% have more financial responsibility than their spouse.
However, while more than half of Gen X women said they have little to no knowledge about investing, just 35% of silent generation women agreed.
Confidence is a big factor in women’s low levels of understanding, Howard said.
“Women in general tend to look at ourselves as not as knowledgeable as someone else,” Howard said. Over 60% of Gen X women said their spouse was at least moderately knowledgeable about investing, she said.