Women empowered as wise investors
Women as better skilled investors was at the heart of a lunchtime presentation given by representatives of LLBH Private Wealth Management LLC of Westport last week in Darien.
At the Woodway Country Club, about 100 businesswomen from around the region attended the presentation, which was conducted by Haley Rockwell, LLBH managing director, and Kenneth Haman, managing director of the Advisor Institute.
"Women are actually naturally good at investing and arguably better than men," Rockwell said. "They're very powerful in the economy, they're very good at investing, and yet they're not as engaged as they want to be."
"Over the last 15 years there have been a lot of studies," Rockwell said, explaining why women make better investors. Among the reasons are that women are more studious, less risk-averse and are "less afflicted by overconfidence," she said.
"There's scientific theory behind this," she said.
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"Women are more aware of their emotions," she said, which means they're less susceptible to impulse investments. Men trade 45 percent more often than women, whom she said are more willing to commit to long-term investment.
"Women care about volatility," she said. Owing, in part, to natural chemical differences between the sexes, their choices in the terms of investing can be very different.
"The primary reason women are better at investing than men are, is that women are more familiar with their own emotions than men are," said Haman, who has a background in psychotherapy, as well as marketing and business.
"Some built-in behavioral vulnerabilities can be incredibly beneficial," he said, referencing the stereotypical "sensitivity" that women have.
"Men tend to be less curious and, therefore, more impulsive," he said.
Haman spoke a bit about the functions of the human brain in regard to investment.
"You cannot make a good investment decision impulsively," he said. "If it's important, it's not going to go well. Impulsivity is the enemy of empowerment in terms of investing, so we have to become as analytical as possible. Impulsivity is the enemy of all quality decision making.
"We want to be self-aware, and as a gender, that's where you have great strength," he said.
Rockwell pointed out that only 10 percent to 15 percent of all leaders in government and business are women.
"As recently as the 1960s," she said, "we couldn't get a credit card in our own name. ... In the 1980s, the tax code still required a wife's income to be reflected on her husband's return," but not vice versa.
She said two-thirds of all spending in the United States -- $12 trillion -- is done by women, who also make up 40 percent of the workforce and possess 60 percent of the personal assets in this country.
Rockwell said she hoped the women in attendance would be "inspired, empowered, and really motivated to move the needle."
Jarret Liotta is a freelance writer.