Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Now Worth Surveying: Wealthy Female Bosses

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Now Worth Surveying: Wealthy Female Bosses

Article excerpt

When Jeffrey Maurer began working for U.S. Trust Corp. in New York 25 years ago, the firm managed money for many wealthy women. Most had inherited their riches from husbands or fathers.

Today, says Mr. Maurer, a sizable portion of the company's female clients earned their wealth themselves in business, either as corporate executives or, more likely, as entrepreneurs.

"We are in a period of transition," says Maurer, chief operating officer of the nation's oldest money-managing firm, founded in 1853. It now invests $44 billion belonging to the well-to-do.

In the United States, the number of wealthy individuals - with at least $200,000 in annual income and/or $500,000 in financial assets - has been expanding for the past decade at a rate of 15 to 20 percent a year. That's great news for U.S. Trust, which has for many years aimed at attracting the money of the wealthy.

Within this group, the number of successful businesswomen has been expanding even faster. So U.S. Trust decided to conduct a survey among the approximately 18,000 for-profit businesses privately held by women in the US with yearly sales of at least $2.5 million. A sample of 125 was selected for what Maurer believes is the first survey of its kind. Here are some findings.

*These women, among the top 1 percent wealthiest Americans, did not inherit their wealth or their business. Some 77 percent described their family background during childhood as poor, lower class, or middle class.

*The typical affluent woman business owner first began a childhood job such as baby-sitting or a paper route at age 12, had her first full-time job at 20, and became a business owner at 33.

*These women are better educated than their male counterparts. Some 58 percent graduated from college or graduate school, compared with 45 percent for men business owners surveyed a year ago. While 75 percent of the men worked full or part-time to help finance their education, only 57 of the women did.

*The typical work week of the female business owners is 57 hours. Almost all of the women polled considered "willingness to work hard" as the most important factor leading to their success.

*Almost half of the respondents had been corporate employees for an average of 10 years before starting their own business. …

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