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Research reveals female, male investment patterns

Alva Devoy

New research has laid out the differences in investment patterns and confidence between men and women when it comes to deciding how to structure their finances.

A report compiled by Fidelity and CoreData, The Financial Power of Women, found that only 48.1 per cent of women as opposed to 55 per cent of male respondents have savings or investment products outside of their superannuation.

Looking at specific financial products, 47 per cent of women invested in stocks as opposed to 66 per cent of men, and women were also seen to invest less in mutual funds and bonds.

Nearly half, 49.4 per cent, of women felt they would be better putting their money into a typical savings account than investing it elsewhere.


“Not enough women are investing in the stock market,” Alva Devoy, managing director at Fidelity International in Australia, said.

“A lack of time and confidence, and fears about the risks, are all obstacles that are stopping women from believing investing is for them.

“They are more risk-averse, prefer the perceived safety of cash and feel that the investment industry is not tailored to them.”

Half of women (50.5 per cent) said that they didn’t have enough money to invest, compared to 35.2 per cent of men, and almost half of women, at 46.3 per cent, were found to believe that they need a lot of money to get started.

Women were found to have a higher aversion to risk, with almost half (46.2 per cent) saying that minimising risk was their priority when investing, compared to just over a quarter of men (26.8 per cent).

More than double the number of women compared to men, at 33.8 per cent against 15.7 per cent, described their appetite for financial risk as “very low risk”.

Less than a third of women, at 28.3 per cent, according to the research, described themselves as “very” or “somewhat” confident when it comes to investing, compared to 50.8 per cent of men.

Around 58.8 per cent of women said that they have the right level of information or knowledge about investments, compared to 73.5 per cent of men.

When asked about how they would describe investment communications, 52.6 per cent of women said “complicated”, 25 per cent chose “intimidating” and 20.8 per cent said “tailored to men”.

Ms Devoy added that despite recent progress, women are still earning less, they take career breaks and there are fewer of them in senior positions which has resulted in a superannuation gap.

While women invest less than men, they are more worried about their financial future.

The study found that 42.2 per cent of women worry about their financial futures on a daily or weekly basis and more than half (52 per cent) don’t think or don’t know if they are on track to achieve their financial goals.

Yet the report also found that more than a third of women, at 35.6 per cent, do not know how much they need to retire.

Of those who think they do know, the study found that they estimated they would need around a third less than what men predicted they would need, with women aiming for around $1.02 million in contrast to men’s $1.46 million.

“Women are likely to live six to seven years longer in retirement,” Ms Devoy said.

“If you’ve already got a view that you need a lot less, but you’re going to live longer, you’re set up for failure relative to goals and financial wellbeing.

“If women’s ability to earn and then save during their working lives is less than men’s, then it’s more important than ever that they have access to the tools to make their money work hard for them.”

The study was based on a survey of 815 women and 407 men.

Research reveals female, male investment patterns
Alva Devoy
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