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What Women Want: An Equal Share Of The Financial Pie

To paraphrase an old advertisement, women have come a long way in recent years, but there's still room for growth.

The glass ceiling for women in the workplace is being raised slowly and married women are becoming more involved in family financial decision-making. However, recent surveys suggest many women still lack confidence when it comes to investment and retirement planning.

According to Hearts & Wallets, a retirement marketing research firm, female spouses in heterosexual marriages still take a backseat to their husbands in retirement planning, with only 43 percent of wives helping formulate those plans. Yet four out of five in this group were approaching retirement age, and women, who tend to outlive men, have a particular need for good planning.

Meanwhile, women tend to be less aggressive than men in the investment arena. A long-term study by Berkeley's Haas School of Business found that men's greater confidence in their investment abilities causes them to trade more often than women. Of course, that's not necessarily an advantage, and women's greater aversion to investment risk may help avoid catastrophic results, especially when the stock market is declining.

Anyone can reap financial rewards through advance planning and portfolio adjustments. That applies to both genders.