Charities better start sucking up to ladies. New research has found that wealthy American women control their households' philanthropic efforts almost exclusively, and that they decide to which cause their money should go based on research, analysis, and a smidgen of ladyfeelings.
The research, funded by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, found that in 75% of households with an annual income of more than $200,000, women either control the philanthropic giving or have an equal say in philanthropic giving. The finding also show that the art of rich people giving away money is both gendered and nuanced. Women not only steer the direction of their fortune's fate, but they also have a very specific method for giving that, depending on who you ask, either gives them maximum opportunity to see their funds in action or the maximum number of chances to be personally thanked for their largesse.
While wealthy men tend to give away money by writing a check to their alma maters every year and then lighting a Cuban cigar with a $100 bill between monocle polishings, women go a different route. According to Reuters, they prefer to work collaboratively, sometimes forming special Rich Ladies With Money To Give Away Clubs and joining forces and donations to give out one giant gift to one very special charity rather than a bunch of smaller gifts to a giant number of charities. Women also prefer to see their funds in action and like to know that their money is going to their intended benefactors rather than administrative costs. In some cases, this means they take trips to the site of the charity itself to oversee the work they're doing. In others, it means they enlist the help of something called a Philanthropy Advisor, which is exactly what it sounds like: rich people pay other people to tell them how to best give away their money. Lifestyles of the 1%!
But the spending power of women isn't only waxing in the field of philanthropy. The report also found that over the next 50 years, women's longer lifespans will lead to $41 trillion's worth of bequests handled by wives left holding the pursestrings after their husbands die.
I hope they don't spend it all on shopping.