Hey, all you single, married, and divorced women out there. Guess who the model investor is? Nope. Guess again! It’s not any of you.   Can you believe that widows make model investors? How’s that again? Well, based upon a recent national survey from OppenheimerFunds, it was found that widowed women had more confidence when it came to managing their money with some 65 percent of the respondents giving themselves a rating of 8 or better on a scale of 100 when asked how good of a job they were doing. You can compare this number with 40 percent of married and co-habitants, and 52 percent of divorced respondents.   Lauren Coulston, Assistant Vice President, Advocacy and Training Manager at OppenheimerFunds, says “It makes sense that women who are responsible for their own finances through a major life event such as widowhood or divorce have more confidence in their money management skills.” She notes that one possible reason for this confidence is that more widows work with financial advisors. In other words, widowed women are often forced to deal with their own finances.   Seems to make a lot of sense in that widowed women appear to do more financial planning and on a more methodical basis.   Incidentally, according to the survey, widowed respondents were also more likely to list retirement as their primary investment goal followed by divorced, married/co-habitants, and single women. Moreover, they are least likely to cite a lack of money as the reason they are not participating in a retirement savings vehicle or plan.   I was especially interested in who widows relied on for investing advice. You got it! The financial advisor. “The fact is, eighty to ninety percent of women will be solely responsible for managing their own finances at some point of their life due to longer life expectancies and higher divorce rates,” adds Coulston. “Regardless of marital status, financial advisors should bring women into financial conversations as early as possible.”   I couldn’t agree more.   By the way, consider too the fact that more than 60 percent of the women surveyed here had over $5,000 in household debt and more than 30 percent maintained over $20,000 of debt. Number one source of debt? The credit card, of course.   And to put a topper on all this, consider this salient fact. Widowed respondents were the least likely to carry any debt.   Bottom line? You don’t have to be in a widowed state to work with a financial advisor. All marital demographics could benefit. And the earlier you get started, obviously, the better off you will be.    

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