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Baby boomers stand to inherit $10 trillion in the next few years and women will get the bulk of it, according to a Cornell University study, because they outlive men an average of seven years.
“Women already control 60 percent of the nation’s personal wealth – they outnumber men and they are traditionally the shoppers,” says financial expert Scott T. Schultz, author of “Scott Schultz’s Guide to Closed-End Funds” (closedendfundguru.com).
“It’s sad that, despite the fact that nearly a third make more money than their husbands and they’re starting businesses at twice the rate men are, 38 percent of women ages 30 to 55 worry they’ll eventually live in poverty because they can’t adequately save for retirement,” he says.
With the first of the boomers hitting 65 this year, the nation will see an even greater number of retirement-aged women holding the country’s purse strings.
“Many will inherit money and property from their parents and/or their husbands, and many will live another 30 to 40 years,” Schultz says, citing the Cornell study. “They’ll need to invest their money to ensure they have enough to avoid that impoverished retirement they fear, but they – and the nation – have lost confidence in the stock market; April 2011 saw the lowest number of investors since 1999.”
What brokers don’t tell clients about, he says, is closed-end funds. Schultz, ranked the No. 1 Separate Account Money Manager for three consecutive years by USA Today, says he earned that national honor by relying almost solely on these limited-issue stocks. Because they’re available only in finite numbers and because watchful brokers can find them “on sale,” they’re a better bet as an investment for those who are willing to sit on them awhile.
Why is the American public so in the dark about closed-end funds? Noting his book is the first written on the topic in more than 20 years, Schultz says there are a few reasons:
* Brokers can’t generate a lot of commissions from them. Brokers move open-ended funds quickly because they earn a commission with each transaction. It’s easy money for them, Schultz says. Closed-end funds require a longer term investment strategy, so brokers who want to get rich quick won’t use them.
* They require more effort from the broker, who has to work to find the “sales.” One advantage of closed-end funds is that they can sometimes be purchased at a discount, so the investor starts off ahead of open-end investors who are paying full price for stocks, Schultz says. Even if the fund never gets back up to its full value, any increase at all is a gain. But the broker has to be willing to work to find the good investments with good discounts. And then he or she has to be willing to sit on them.
* Closed-end funds are boring! For a lot of brokers, it’s just plain fun to trade stocks in products and initiatives with an exciting ring to them, whether it’s Facebook or a treasure-hunting ship. These brokers are constantly trading stocks – and generating transaction feeds, lawyer fees and underwriting fees every time – because that’s what they like to do. Closed-end funds require thoughtful, sometimes tedious research before buying, and then the patience of a saint as both the broker and the investor wait for the bid price to increase.
Published: May 10, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 04