International womens day
It’s official: women are better investors than men. They just don’t think they are. In fact, a 2017 study from Fidelity Investments1 shows that just 9 per cent of women believed that statement. But that same study also analysed returns on investments by both men and women – and found that the women earned 0.4 per cent higher on their investments than the men. That figure might look small but it represents a whole lot of added value over time.
That study isn’t the only one, either. There’s a whole body of research2 which shows that women tend to make better financial decisions around investing. They’re more objective, they are less impulsive and they hold more diverse portfolios. As Fidelity’s senior vice president of women investors Alexandra Taussig said: “Women need to lean in and own the fact that they’re better investors and celebrate that.”
Bust the myths
So why don’t women celebrate our financial abilities more? Sadly, it’s hardly surprising that womens’ confidence is taking a while to grow. After all, as recently as the 1970s, many were routinely refused3 mortgages, loans, and credit cards.
Consequently, a disempowering myth grew up that women couldn’t manage money. A study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave4 found that just 52% of women say they feel confident managing their investments, compared to 68% of men. Yet over a third of women in that study said they wished they had invested more of their money.
Be the change you want to see
But there’s good news: it’s the 21st century and the male-dominated world of investing is changing fast – and changing for the better. Last year, for example, saw the biggest-ever rise in the percentage of female fund managers. The number of mixed-gender portfolio management teams has doubled over the last six years – and these teams perform best in all markets on risk return. As the Citywire Alpha Female report5 points out, that shatters the myth that women prefer not to take risks in investing.
Women’s increased visibility in the professional fund management space matters, because it’s helping to boost confidence among women who want to manage their own investments.
And those investments are now more accessible than ever.
There’s still a way to go, but the investment landscape is finally changing to cater more for female investors. Tech is democratising investment strategies, information and processes: the dusty office and disapproving bank manager have long been consigned to history.
“It’s time to take control of your finances and realise just how much power you have in the investment space.”
Make a difference
Financial products are changing too, as the world changes and investor priorities change with it. Evidence shows that women are more likely to seek out sustainable investing. They care more about where their money goes, and they want to see that it’s making a real difference. As a recent RBC Wealth Management6 study of its US clients commented: “Female clients… are more likely to prioritise environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact when considering what companies or funds to invest in, while male clients are much more likely to prioritise financial performance.”
Just do it
And you no longer need hundreds of thousands to make investing worth it. In the 21st century, it’s for everybody, no matter how much money you have. So, if you’ve been considering taking your first steps into investment, it’s a great time to join the millions of women who are already doing it. It’s time to take control of your finances and realise just how much power you have in the investment space. After all, your financial decisions could literally change the world.