Investing money doesn't have to be a chore, but for many women it is. A lot of women make the mistake in thinking that they need to be financial planning gurus to make smart investments.
Unfortunately, research shows there's some truth to that. According to personal security company, A Secure Life, only 45% of women from ages 21-64 have a retirement savings, women are more likely to work in jobs that don't offer retirement, and women generally don't invest as aggressively as men do. Even this Wall Street Journal article says men are more confident with investments than women.
Why is that? Is it fear of losing all of our hard earned pennies? Is it the fear of not understanding the stock market that well and not knowing when to move money during a market downturn?
I recently finished a great book by Kimberly Palmer about financial planning for mothers. Smart Mom, Rich Mom lays out very simple aspects to finance that all mothers need to address to plan for their family's fiscal futures. When discussing investing, Palmer pointed out some interesting finance factoids between the sexes:
- Only 23% of Certified Financial Planners are women
- In a 2014 Transamerica survey, men had nearly30,000 more in investments
- Men tend to be more aggressive with investments and see better returns than women
Now, of course these figures don't apply to every man or woman. I know many financial savvy women and I'm sure plenty of men make financial decisions they've regretted. Let's explore the different tactics that men and women often take with their finances and how you can adapt these practices to improve your own financial picture.
Men tend to invest in more stock funds as part of their retirement plans.
Stock funds are usually more volatile than mutual funds, bonds, or ETFs. But, as Matthew Frankel points out in his Fool.com article describing the difference between stocks, mutual Funds, and ETFs, stock funds can generate massive returns. This is the characteristic about investing men gravitate towards the most. Frankel used the example of Apple stock, stating that $1000 in Apple stock in 2002 would have grown to $130,000 in 2015.
Men tend to buy and trade more often.
Related to the point above, men trade more often to keep on top of the next best thing in the investment world. Men tend to take advantage of what they believe is the next boom (or sometimes bust) in the stock market to take advantage of high returns.
Men historically earn more.
The case could be argued that men buy and sell more stock because they can afford it. Women still make only 78 cents on the dollar when compared to men's salaries. Meaning, men, on average, bring in more than 20% more income from full time employment. That's substantially more money to play in investments with.
While establishing these behaviors could give women the up and up with their finances, investing is not a completely man's world. There are many moves women tend to make that are very financially sound. Primarily, with saving.
Let's review some financial behaviors women tend to do more so than men and how these behaviors could play in their favor.
Women tend to save more for retirement.
Even though women are still behind in the earnings curve, they still are better savers for retirement. According to this Time Money article, women save 7 to 16% more of their income than men.
Women pay less fees.
Women are more likely to sit on their investments and ride them out, even when markets are rocky. I remember chatting with ladies in a Facebook group and, unlike me, many made the decision not to move their money during Brexit. And there's a smart strategy to this: frequent trading and selling comes with a ton of fees, money that could be left in her investments to grow.
Women are more likely to seek professional assistance.
Palmer also found financial illiteracy starts early. Young girls are less likely to talk with their parents about money than young boys. So, it's no wonder that women are more likely to speak with financial planners. Speaking with a professional takes a lot of the guess work out of financial planning and provides a great way to get free education about money.
In conclusion, both sexes exhibit behaviors that could benefit one's portfolio. Men are better risk takers, generating great returns but women are better putting more money away for a rainy day and asking for help when necessary. The important thing is to strike a balance between the two: know when to take advantage of growth (like a man) but exercise the importance of staking the savings deck (like a woman).
This article first appeared on A Rich Single Mom.