Families and Financial Planning
While studying Personal Financial Planning (PFP) at Texas Tech University, I noticed in one of my classes of 40 students, I was one of 10 females. Then, I realized that this pattern is the gender distribution in all my PFP courses. According to the CFP Board, there are about 84,000 certified financial planners, and only 23.4% are female. This statistic shows just how unique White Oaks Wealth Advisors is because it is one of the largest 100% woman-owned registered investment advisory firms in Minnesota and Florida.
Today, my father is the “Money Man” in our family. From paying bills to investment management, he is the person who has the passwords and keeps important documents. Thinking about how my family manages our finances made me wonder if the gender split in the Tech PFP Program and within CFP certificants correlates with the upbringing of individuals. (Note: There is nothing wrong with women choosing to not study financial planning. I simply want to discover if there is a reason behind the pattern of my classes.)
My theory was that most people whose mother or father managed their family’s finances carries over into the dynamics of their children’s family. For example, if a father managed the finances in his family, his son would now manage the finances in his own family. If fathers manage their family’s finances, their sons might be more prone to study financial-related courses in college. Likewise, if mothers manage the family’s finances, their daughters might want to study further. To test my theory, I created a survey that I distributed to friends and family on Facebook. In total, I received 141 responses to ten questions. Here are the results:
- 108 Females
- 32 Males
- 0 Responded as other
(In a perfect scenario, I would like a more even distribution. However, the overall results help generate further questions that I would like to study in the future.)
- 35 People ages 18-24
- 48 People ages 25-39
- 42 People ages 40-60
- 16 People over age 60
- 90 Married
- 42 Singles
- 6 Divorced
- 3 Widowed
- 30 High school degrees
- 74 Bachelor’s degrees
- 32 Master’s degrees
- 5 Doctorate degrees
- From birth to age 18, who handled your family’s financial matters? (control the budget, pay bills, manage investments, etc.)
- Today, who handles your family’s or individual financial matters?
- What is your understanding of stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities?
- Does your portfolio consist of stocks, bonds, real estate, and/or commodities?
- Do you feel intimidated by the topic of investing?
- To become more educated about investments, how would you go about learning?
35% of participants (7 men and 43 women) responded that their mothers managed their family’s finances. 29% (16 men and 25 women) responded, “Father”. 30% (9 men and 33 women) responded, “both mother and father”. The final 8% (1 man and 7 women) said a hired professional managed everything. Based off the results from the next question, “Today, who handles your family’s financial matters?”, there appears to be no correlation between the parent(s) who managed finances to the individual who handles it today. The responses are scattered among all participants. The other questions are for my own understanding of my survey participants, but one interesting result is that 74% answered that they seek professional advice when they have questions about investments.
White Oaks clients have an entire team educating clients about their portfolios and supporting them through decision making. If you have questions about wealth or investment management, please reach out to White Oaks Wealth Advisors.
My New Theory
My initial theory was that men and women’s management of money ties back to who handled their family’s money. Then, this might influence people’s decisions to study finance-related courses or control the finances in their own family. However, the survey results show me that perhaps there is no correlation. Instead, maybe it is a person’s own preferences to take care of financial matters. The process reminded me that while my father managed the money, I have this innate desire to learn about saving money and help others gain financial independence. Growing up, my parents exposed me to money-related conversations. Their influence inspired me to study personal finance in college.
As a result of the survey results, I am now interested in my peers and why they chose to pursue a career in financial planning. Maybe their parents’ occupations helped guide their decisions, or perhaps it was just an individual interest in financial planning. There might not be a simple answer as to why there are more males than females studying PFP at Texas Tech or more male CFPs. However, I would be interested to study more and survey a wider range of people.
The Importance of Communication
In conclusion, the results in the study remind me of the importance for both men and women to involve themselves in financial planning in some way. I only had 30% of the people answer that multiple parties are involved in the money management process in their family. Whether you are a teacher, doctor, retiree, or any other occupation, everyone deals with money in some manner and holds special documents or passwords. In my family, my parents are content with my dad handling the finances. There is absolutely nothing wrong with one person handling the money. However, I encourage the individual, or people who take on the financial responsibility in their families, to share the location of important documents and passwords with their friends or family.
The Red Box
Today, the White Oaks team is working on a project called The Red Box. More details will follow, but it is an interactive way for clients to store personal information for loved ones.