Every year, some big bank or brokerage firm does an investor attitudes survey timed to coincide with Valentine's Day. This time it's PNC, and the conclusions reveal that the recession didn't change gender-linked financial behaviors much.
When working with married couples, according to this data, it'll still be the wife who's more worried about risk and the prospect of outliving a retirement nest egg.
The unstated question is what personal assumptions about risk mean for men and women today. Sure, someone may describe himself or herself as risk-averse or not, but after two severe bear markets in a decade, punctuated by some of the biggest bull markets in history, what does that really mean?
And granted, women are more concerned with their prospects of living longer than their retirement savings can support. That's old news -- what's useful to communicate to clients of either gender is concrete information about longevity and long-term average performance in the markets.
Only then can they know whether they actually need to be afraid and how much risk they can realistically tolerate.