Who Has the Problem,
Me or “Them”?

Case I:

So I read a good column (as far as it goes) by a good friend. Joe Nocera's "Talking Business" column in the September 29 New York Times was headlined: "The Worst Investors? Humans."

He writes about a bushel of demonstrated human irrationalities that lead to counterproductive investment behavior. But never once—so damn typical!!!—does he touch on the issue of gender differences in investment strategies. Yet, significant research shows that there are gender differences, that they revolve around irrationality, and that women, the rational ones, the less emotional ones, out-invest men.

Consider a Merrill study reported in the Atlantic ("When It Comes to Investing, Gender A Strong Influence On Behavior"): "Women come out better on almost every count as investors ... They are less likely to hold a losing investment too long, and less likely to wait too long to sell a winner; they're also less likely to put too much money into a single investment or to buy a reputedly hot stock without doing sufficient research."

Or consider a Jane Bryant Quinn column in Newsweek ("Stop Treating Women Investors Like Idiots!"): "Why all this focus on women and our lack of investment guts? A far greater problem, it seems to me, is trigger-happy speculation, mostly by men. The kind of guys whose family savings went south with the dot-coms. Imagine a list of their money mistakes: Shoot from the hip. Overtrade their accounts. Believe they're smarter than the market. Think with their mouse rather than their brain. Praise their own genius when stocks go up. Hide their mistakes from their wives."

I'm not arguing that the case is open and shut, though I think it is, I'm simply wondering why it never occurs to men to examine gender differences???

Case II:

As I write, I'm in High Point NC at the semi-annual monster furniture (home furnishings) show—85,000 in attendance.

Re gender, the statistics are solid as a rock: Women buy upwards of 90% of home furnishings.

So I picked up a freebie in the Sheraton lobby, October's issue of Home Furnishings Business: Strategy for the Furniture Retailer.

Page 12, "Home Furnishings Business Retail Advisory Board Members."

Total advisors: 6.
Total male members: 6.
Total female members: (Do the math yourself.)

But ...
Halleluiah!!
Improvement is on the way!!

Page 14, Contributors (to the October issue).

Total contributors: 9.
Total male contributors: 8.
Total female contributors: (Do the math yourself, but, statistically speaking, an infinite difference.)

Redux: Who's got the problem, me or "them"?
(Could well be me, often is.)