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The House That Wisdom Built: Women in Investing

solomon success graphicIn the proverbs of Solomon as well as in many other literary works, virtues such as wisdom and justice are personified as women. “Wisdom hath built herself a house,” says the great King in Proverbs 9:1, among many other references. In the days of Solomon and after, most women didn’t own houses, though, or other assets: everything was under the management of a husband or male relative. Although that’s changed in today’s world, women still faced unique challenges in financial management as well as getting started in investing.

Investing has long been a man’s world. But with the increasing awareness that women generally live longer than men and take charge not only of their own finances but also those of their families, investment support and information targeted specifically to women is becoming more widespread. That’s due largely to recognition that women’s financial profiles are frequently very different from those of their male peers.

Women nearing retirement age can generally expect smaller pensions and Social Security payouts than men. One reason for this is an interrupted work history, with pauses for child-rearing or care giving. Another is job instability. Although less common today, women of generations past who worked often had a pattern of job-hopping – following a husband’s career moves and taking fill-in work wherever the family lived. Some may never have worked at all, relying on the man of the house to handle finances.

Women of younger generations face barriers to investing, too. A Generation X or Y just starting a career may be fairly low on the pay scale while carrying massive student loan debt. And general instability in the nation’s employment picture can mean she’ll end up laid off or downsized. For those in between, these issues plus time off for childbirth and other family issues can mean a spotty financial history with no resources available for investing.

With these issues in mind, real estate is emerging as one of the most viable investment opportunities for women – and a range of support and educational resources aimed at women investors are springing up to help them get started. Mortgage lenders may have special support for women borrowers, with programs aimed at supporting women and minorities starting businesses or launching investments that support communities, such as renovating low-cost foreclosures in depressed areas.

Investing in property creates an income stream that can accommodate the twists and turns of women’s working lives, with income that continues while a worker takes time to care for an aging parent or stay at home for a child’s first year of life. Property investments can also provide a safe haven in case of a spouse’s death or other financial crisis.

There was a time when women couldn’t even own property. Now, with greater understanding of their unique issues and more support for new investors, more women are taking Jason Hartman’s advice to create an income stream for retirement – or any age – through investing in income property.

The Solomon Success Team

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