Day 17-Second sex no more?

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Women try their luck; men risk theirs

Will faster female wealth accumulation change the rules of the game in terms of consumption and savings? This is an important lateral effect for the future. And when it comes to investing, women and men definitely come from different planets. Most people believe that women are more conservative or risk-averse when it comes to investing. Research bears this out. As Lord Henry declared in Oscar Wilde’s toward risk shape most decisions in our lives, including consumption and savings. And they also affect what types of investments we deem conducive to achieving our financial goals. It’s not much of a stretch to argue that if instead of Lehman Brothers we had had Lehman sisters, the crisis of 2008 might have been averted. The era in which most of the wealth was generated by men, owned by men, and managed by men is nearly over. And financial markets are in for a huge transformation. More people nowadays prefer stock funds linked to a market index as opposed to managed funds with more variability in their returns. More of those people investing are now women. In fact, no company will be able to succeed if it fails to grasp women’s preferences and decisions as they ascend and take control of the largest share of global wealth.

Not all women are the same

Paul Dolan, a professor at the London School of Economics who uses American data on happiness, goes one step further: “We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.” The difference lies in how marriage and having kids change the life experiences of women and men. “You take fewer risks, you earn more money at work, and you live a little longer. She, on other hand, has to put up with that, and dies sooner than if she is never married,” observes Dolan, based on the Data. “The healthiest and happiness population subgroup are women who never married or had children.” In some countries parents actually feel happier than nonparents, perhaps because of more generous parental leave and childcare programs: France, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Russia. And while family support programs raise the happiness of fathers but not childless men, they increase the happiness of all women, whether they have children or not.

By 2030 the trends toward better education and lower fertility will have solidified the differences among four categories of women: childless women, single moms, married women, and divorced women. And within each group, some will be in a comfortable financial situation while others will struggle.

2030 by Mauro.F.Guillen: 101–107

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