Consultants to Women: Show Us Your Money

How does investment advice for women differ from investment advice for men?

Why would three books aimed at teaching women how to invest come out in the same month (January 1998)? For the same reason that Willie Sutton used to rob banks: That’s where the money is. The Fast Company Consultant Debunking Unit (CDU) lined up these money manuals to find an answer to the $64,000 question: How is investment advice for women different from investment advice for, say, men? One answer emerged: When a consultant is selling such advice, you know who’s going to end up making the real money.

Books A Girl Needs Cash (Times Business) by Joan Perry, founder of the country’s first woman-owned municipal investment banking firm Money Makeovers (Doubleday) by Christopher L. Hayes, executive director of the National Center for Women and Retirement Research Savvy Investing for Women (Prentice Hall) by Marlene Jupiter, self-made Wall Street millionaire
Why women need this book “Centuries of cultural biases, misconceptions, and fears conspire to hold us back.” “What holds women back is self-esteem, and the problems with that can be traced all the way back to early educational and parental experiences.” “The underlying problem is that, historically, women have been put at a disadvantage by being deprived of an adequate education in financial matters.”
The “lesser” sex? “Plenty of men are intimidated about money matters, too – even if they’re too macho to admit it.” “Women have the potential to be better investors than men.” “Investing in horses is [a risky proposition] … . Mares seldom have a problem reproducing … . No real proof exists that a stallion will be able to reproduce.”
“Taking charge of money is … … the last step in our liberation as women.” … the ‘last frontier’ for women.” … a ‘vehicle of freedom.'”
Lady, can you spare a dime? “Make sure you don’t end up a bag lady.” “The bag lady within keeps chasing me.” “I worry that I will wake up as a bag lady.”
Favorite financial cliché “No one else can pedal your bicycle for you.” “You … don’t want to learn that ‘the cookie jar is empty.”’ “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Formative financial experience “Ever since I was a child, I had a taste for nice things … . Shortly before I graduated from college, I recall my father telling me, ‘Joan, you’re not going to be able to live on minimum wage.”’ “I was … born with a ‘broom and mop in my hand.'” “After I’d ‘graduated’ from kindergarten,… I literally started my own business … with the help of my mom (who stirred up pitchers of lemonade while I manned my makeshift booth outside).”
Favorite investment personality Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey Mickey Mouse
Myth vs. reality The White Knight: “Do you still believe you don’t have to worry about your financial life because your husband is there to take care of you?” Knight in Shining Armor: “One of the myths that women live with is that someone is going to rescue them from the burden of financial concerns the way knights in shining armor once saved damsels in distress.” Women’s Intuition: “‘Women’s intuition’ is not really a myth.”
Philosophy toward plastic “What money I have, I feed to Visa and MasterCard.” “If you are carrying a large balance on your credit card … withdraw your money from savings to pay off the credit card debt.” “Was my lemonade stand a success?… I do recall making enough to buy the Barbie Doll Dream House.”
Money and marriage “A financial partnership is a lot like sex: To get it right, you definitely need to talk about it.” “[A] lasting union [is based on] the ability to mutually agree on how … money [is] spent.” “Speak to the best attorney in town before your husband does.”