Women still invest less than men – experts say it’s time to shed the uncertainty
A new poll by YouGov found men are more likely to view investing as their top financial priority. According to the survey, 62% of men say investing is somewhat or very important to them, versus 55% of women.
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This poll may be hot off the press, but its results are nothing new. For years, even as the field of personal finance has been expanding, men have been more likely to invest than women. Analysts might simply surmise that this scenario is true because women are socialized to be risk-averse and unassertive (whether this argument is true or false remains a matter of debate), but this concept isn’t the whole truth either.
“Is it correct to say that women aren’t ‘as confident’ as men when it comes to investing?” asked Jackie Ellisor Wiggins, JD, LLM, CLU, ChFC, of MassMutual. “The issue of investing by women is complex and multifaceted.”
Investing has historically been a male-dominated field of interest
“In the past, investing was male dominated,” Wiggins continued. “Finance and investment has been observed to be a fluid discussion in relation to men’s gatherings, whether at work, sports or other types of events. Investing and finance are not issues that flow organically into the context of work or social groups for women.”
Even though “times have changed,” the world of personal finance remains largely taboo for women and people of color. According to the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) Board, in 2021, 83% of certified financial planners were white and 77% were men.
This is no coincidence. Women have been banished from the financial conversation for eons. For many women, this has not only led to a lack of know-how, but also to insecurity.
“For many women, investing is viewed as something that men are inherently ‘better’ at,” said Uchechi Kalu, financial advisor at Abacus Wealth Partners. “I was at a dinner party recently where a brilliant woman who works in tech told me that she shifts all investments to her husband because she just ‘don’t get it.’ That’s incredibly common.”
Leave uncertainty behind: women are good at investing
Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from these survey results is that women make solid investments — arguably more often than men.
“According to Betsy Moszeter, COO of Green Alpha Advisors, ‘Women consumers and investors are changing the way society manages their money by consistently making more holistic decisions about how they spend, save and invest'” , she said to Leesa Childress Sluder, senior financial advisor at Earth Equity Advisors. She also notes that “female investors are almost twice as likely as male investors to consider both the return and impact of their investment when making a decision (40% vs. 23%).”
It seems that trust is key – and that trust can be built, at least in part, through education.
“Once women feel educated on this issue, I think they are ready and willing to invest,” said Lorrie Delk, financial advisor at Allen & Company.
Let’s be educated
Acquiring or expanding an education in personal finance is key for women to feel more comfortable investing.
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“Read some books about saving for retirement. Meet with a financial advisor who has the heart of a teacher and will tell you not only what they recommend you invest in, but why they recommend it,” Delk said. “I loved attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This knowledge of my family’s finances changed our lives and ultimately led me to become a financial advisor.”
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