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Investing and Planning: Different for Women than Men?

By LouAnn Schulfer, AWMA®, AIF®
Accredited Wealth Management AdvisorSM
Accredited Investment Fiduciary®

Early in my career, I would despise hearing how women differ from men when it comes to investing.  Often, it was assumed that women earned less than men and were less aggressive than men, therefore, advisors should choose investments accordingly.  I would go to conferences and listen to the speaker address the “hot topic” of how to work with women clients, like they (the presenters) were afraid that if advisors didn’t use the right words, have the right eye contact or had too firm of a handshake, we women were going to be offended or even maybe even break out and cry at some point.  One of my colleagues used to say, “there are no pink or blue investments”, and he was right.   Investments are not different for men than they are for women.  Planning is, though.


Women tend to live longer than men.  For those of us who marry, our husbands are often older than we are.  Combine the two, and it is not uncommon for a woman to spend a decade or more in widowhood.  This needs to be carefully thought out in planning.  For example, the age at which you and your husband each choose to begin social security will affect the income of the surviving spouse upon death of the first.  Additionally, if your husband is the recipient of a pension and he passes away first, the pension income will only continue if a joint and survivor option was elected.  The compounding effects of each of these can be substantial for the survivor who is, more often than not, the woman.


What would it look like if some form of extended care were needed by either spouse?  Operationally, how would it affect a wife if her husband were to need care or a husband if his wife were to need care?   Physically, it is difficult to provide assistance to someone with their activities of daily living and may be impossible if the caring spouse is also in their mature years with ailments and physical limitations of their own.  Financially planning for the possibility of long term care, just in case, is particularly important if you wish to ensure that the spouse who needs care can get the care that they need, and have assets left over for the surviving spouse to live off of.  For a widow living alone, it may be even more difficult in her advanced years without her life-long partner to help manage the challenges of advanced age.


Investments should not be influenced by gender.  Based on statistical information such as longevity, planning should.


LouAnn Schulfer is co-owner of Schulfer & Associates, LLC Financial Professionals and can be reached at (715) 343-9600 or
Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor.  Member FINRA/SIPC