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Thin Ice

05/16/2013

As a white male, it is dangerous to discuss certain issues, and most of us avoid those subjects like the plague.   We can never discuss racial issues or gender issues . . . because we are wrong, no matter what we say.

But, I can report comments by a female speaker at the conference this week about gender issues.  She said women communicate with their eyes, and it is critical to maintain eye contact with them.  Women use stories to communicate, while men use data.  Women use words to find ways to cooperate, while men use words to compete.  Women are more conservative investors, while men tend to be gun-slingers.  Men look for competence, while women look for someone who cares about her family.  When there are three people in a meeting, it is best to sit directly in front of the woman.  And, never, never ignore her!

The purpose of her comments was to make her mostly male audience of investment planners more sensitive to the perspective of female clients.  Mission Accomplished, I think!  After all, women are expected to inherit 70% of the $41 TRILLION in inter-generational wealth transfer.  They already make 85% of household buying decisions, including financial services.

After an hour or so, I began to feel “politically correct” enough to think this is really a gross over-generalization, as I’ve met numerous women who are more involved in their financial planning and investment planning than their husbands.  Maybe, I’m just fortunate to have met many extraordinary women?  Because, I seriously doubt I care more about the man’s opinion than the woman’s opinion, as I normally prefer the company of women over men anyway.

An interesting side-note is that 43% of all household were “traditional” in 1960, composed of a married husband, wife, and children.  Today, only 20% are.  Co-habitation or “living together” has increased 1,700%.  The times, they are a-changing . . . indeed!

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