The Surprising Investment Preferences of Women 

An old adage in the financial sector goes that women save and men invest – and this still rings true. It seems that even the investment preferences of women who have money to put aside tend to squirrel it away rather than invest to grow it. In 2019, a study by Warwick Business School looked at the men and women who traded shares and funds using Barclays’ Smart Investor service. The study found that the annual return made by men who invested on the site was just 0.14% above the FTSE 100, while women using the service made an average annual gain 1.94% above the FTSE. Neil Stewart, the Warwick Business School professor who led the analysis, said:

In society, individuals are tasked with stewarding their wealth and resources in a manner that aligns with their personal and familial aspirations. This necessitates a specific selection of investment options that cater to their own needs and preferences.  

In the finance world today, we can observe a stark gender disparity in investment patterns, with women consistently underrepresented in the realm of asset investments. This gap not only limits women’s financial opportunities but also perpetuates economic inequality and hinders overall financial well-being. Academic Researchers have identified women to be conservative investors who are less willing to commit their savings over long periods of time. In fact, paying off current debt is considered a primary goal by many women.  

Those same women are also likely to place more emphasis on the measures of risk and are less likely to purchase investments which have a highly variable rate of return. We see this in women professional investors who are more security prone decision makers and therefore less likely to invest in the stock market. Study (Martenson, 2008).  

As a group, women display certain characteristics that help them make sound decisions about their finances. They tend to be holistic thinkers, aware of all aspects of an issue and equally aware of the importance of balance. Women tend to be intuitive; they are discerning and perceptive in their view of the world. They tend to be more concerned with quality rather than quantity, which can translate into better decision making in the complex world of investing. Study (Avery,2010). 

Variables such as age, marital status, educational qualification, occupation, monthly income, status in the family, family members, number of dependents, family income and savings must also factor in. 

When it comes to real estate investing, the allure for many women lies in their perceived tangibility and connection to homeownership. The physical nature of property provides a sense of ownership and control, while the potential for long-term appreciation and rental income aligns with women’s tendencies to prioritise financial security for their families. However, while real estate can be a valuable asset class, diversifying investments into financial assets like stocks and bonds offers women a crucial pathway to financial independence. Asset investments can provide exposure to a broader range of investment opportunities, potentially leading to higher returns over the long term. Additionally, financial assets can generate passive income through dividends and interest payments, further enhancing financial stability. 

The underrepresentation of women in asset investments often stems from a combination of factors, including risk aversion, lack of access to capital, and limited financial literacy. Women may be more inclined towards conservative investment choices due to concerns about risk and uncertainty. Additionally, historical gender discrimination in lending practices and lower overall wealth accumulation among women have created barriers to accessing capital, essential for investing in financial assets. 

To bridge this gap and empower women to embrace asset investments, several strategies can be implemented: 

  1. Financial Education and Literacy Programs: Go online. 

Comprehensive financial education programs tailored to women should be widely available, providing them with the knowledge and skills to make informed investment decisions. These programs should cover topics such as risk assessment, asset diversification, and long-term investment strategies. 

  1. Investment Mentorship and Support Networks: Get connected. 

Connecting women with experienced female investors and mentors can provide invaluable guidance and support. These relationships can foster confidence, encourage risk-taking, and promote networking opportunities within the investment community. 

  1. Tailored Investment Products and Services: The right fit. 

Financial institutions should develop investment products and services specifically designed for women’s needs and preferences. This could include lower minimum investment requirements, simplified investment platforms, and access to female financial advisors who understand women’s unique financial perspectives. 

  1. Promoting Female Financial Role Models: Women trailblazers 

Highlighting the achievements of successful female investors can inspire and motivate other women to pursue asset investments. These role models can serve as mentors, advocates, and catalysts for change in the financial world. 

With the growing involvement of women in business and finance, there is an urgent need to understand the investment profile of women. As financial advisors, we should play a vital role in improving the participation of women in investment activities by providing them greater assistance which is needed to understand retirement planning and financial matters

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