Should men or women control the investment purse strings?

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When it comes time to make big financial decisions, research consistently shows that women more frequently hold the purse strings than men.

While this is a positive finding, as women tend to make smart, thoughtful, informed financial decisions, it also has the potential to drop an anchor in your investment portfolio’s growth.

If you’ve ever braved a session of retail shopping with a woman, you’ll know as well as I do that men shop very differently to women.

Men tend to approach a shopping task, no matter how big or small, in much the same manner: quickly, quietly and as painlessly as possible.

On the other hand women celebrate the experience.

Shopping for a new fridge, for instance, becomes more than a simple trip to Harvey Norman. It’s an epic research mission, both online and in-store complete with spreadsheets and continuous calculations to ensure the best possible deal is found.

In other words, women are generally more thorough, more measured and more detail-oriented than their male counterparts.

This is one of the key differences between men and women as investors, and when it comes to making astute property investing decisions, it often gives females the upper hand.

Now this is not just what some may say is my “biased” view; there are researchers far smarter than I who have come to the same conclusion, including behavioural finance researcher Nelli Oster, a director and investment strategist at BlackRock.com

She points to three key reasons why women tend to make smarter financial decisions than men:

1. Women think long-term

“Women tend to focus more on longer-term, non-monetary goals,” Oster says. This is because women generally associate money with security, independence and the quality of their and their families’ lives.

It’s no wonder that a 2010 Boston Consulting Group Study found that female investors tend to focus on longer-horizon planning.

“Men, on the other hand, who tend to be more competitive and thrill-seeking by nature, often focus on the short-term track records of their portfolios,” Oster adds.

2. Women take their time.

In a general sense, women tend to be thorough when making decisions, investing more time into the process than men.

“Women also tend to be more patient as investors and consult their advisors before adjusting their portfolio positioning, whereas men are more prone to market timing impulses,” Oster says.

3. Women seek help more.

The old cliché about men failing to stop and ask for directions rings a little true here too.

“To gather information, women often prefer group discussions to men’s more independent learning approach,” Oster says.

Women are more receptive to financial research and advice, which means the financial decisions they do make are often guided by expertise, rather than gut instinct.

Should women hold all the financial cards?

Now, in saying all of this, it may seem like I’m advocating a strategy whereby women should be making all the financial decisions.

My view is that when it comes time to engage in the property buying process – whether it’s making an offer, negotiating on price or settling on terms of the deal – the only way you can build your confidence is to actually get out there and do it.

This is where, in my opinion, some female investors may falter by potentially second-guessing and seeking to reassure themselves ‘one more time’ that the deal truly stacks up, they may sometimes end up standing in their own way.

As a result, sometimes women may actually risk missing out on great investment opportunities, because they might take too long to weigh up all the pros and cons.

So what’s the best approach?

As I see it, the best investment decisions are made by investors who are decisive, thorough and clear on what they want to accomplish.

Yes, it’s true that men can be impatient shoppers. They are also more prone to attempt timing the market, a strategy that frequently ends in tears.

But, at the end of the day, they’re also generally action-oriented, decisive and often more willing to take a risk.

That’s why I believe a mix of both the male and female approaches are integral if you want to achieve long-term financial success as a property investor.

The feminine approach may allow you to build your wealth in a safe, steady and secure way: it ensures you cross all your t’s, dot all your i’s and research every inch of the deal before you proceed.

The masculine approach is based more on instinct, and allows you to proactively direct your passion and energy into moving forward towards your property goals.

Equal measures of both male and female investing attitudes will give you the best chance of building a profitable property portfolio that delivers for years to come.

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