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Created on 04.05.2023

Women invest less than men – why is that?

Only half of Swiss households invest their money. It’s very clear that more men than women invest. A current study indicates the breakdown is 60 percent to 40 percent. Several reasons why women invest less were identified. But objective analysis shows there’re not all valid. Find out what holds women back from investing and how they can overcome obstacles and inhibitions to improve their opportunity of getting more from their savings in the long-term.

In many places women earn much less than men in the same job. They’re also more affected by gaps in retirement provision due to interruptions to employment or working part-time. But there’s also a gender divide when it comes to financial investment. The Investment Report by PostFinance and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts shows that women are less inclined to invest than men. Yield-oriented investment may be a way of closing the asset gap between men and women.

Three reasons why women invest less than men

  • Supposed lack of knowledge about investment products
  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Little interest in financial matters

According to the Investment Report, 65 percent of women who don’t invest their money have a general lack of knowledge about investment products. That’s not necessarily true. The study explored not only the reasons why participants didn’t invest, but also their financial knowledge. The results show that women only view their knowledge as poorer. Financial knowledge was tested using three standard research questions on the topic (financial literacy). 73 percent of women answered at least two of three questions correctly. The second reason “fear of making mistakes” was put into perspective, or at least viewed objectively, based on these results. There’s a different picture when it comes to the divide over interest in financial matters. Just 19 percent of women say they’re interested in developments on the financial markets. That figure stood at 45 percent amongst the men surveyed.

This suggests that women tend to prefer to leave their money in a savings account. But when interest rates are low, this means they may miss out on the opportunity to generate better returns by making targeted investments. When inflation rises, this strategy can even result in a loss as the value of savings falls which cannot necessarily be offset by low interest rates. That’s just one reason why it’s well worth finding out about investment and thinking about defining your own strategy. 

Put your financial knowledge to the test

Let’s assume you’ve got CHF 100 in your savings account. This credit earns interest at 2 percent per annum and you leave it in the savings account for five years. What’s the balance of your savings account after five years? (No account fees are levied during the five-year period.)
Let’s assume the interest paid on your savings account is 1 percent per annum while the rate of inflation is 2 percent per year. In your opinion, will you be able to buy just as much, more or less than today with the money in the savings account after a year?
In your opinion, is the following statement true or false: “Investing in the equities of a single company is less risky than investing in an equity fund.”

That’s why women especially should invest more

Did you do better in the quiz than you thought? Then maybe you’re underestimating your investment knowledge. But this doesn’t have to be a drawback. On the contrary: various studies have shown that women tend to act less rashly, are more risk-averse and pursue longer-term investment strategies than men. That means they trade less than men. Men realign their asset portfolios more often which can have a negative impact on performance. So the financial investments of women tend to perform better. While these findings provide no guarantee of successful investment, they highlight the largely untapped potential.

Women are less inclined to invest for the reasons indicated above. That figure stood at 45 percent amongst the men surveyed. This would have enabled them to build up their assets. Women work part-time more frequently and have gaps in employment more often than men. Equal pay isn’t yet a reality everywhere either. Planning how to build up their assets is a way in which women can bridge any financial gaps and become independent in the long-term. 

How to feel more confident about investing

The study by Fidelity Investments indicates that women feel more confident about investing when they follow the guidelines below. Clearly, the guidelines don’t just apply to women, but to anyone seeking greater security when investing.

Find out more

You don’t necessarily need to constantly keep up with financial developments and markets to extend your investment knowledge. You can quickly gain a general understanding of securities and other types of investment. The range of options is very wide and provides ideal products for both newcomers and seasoned investors. You can align and extend your securities portfolio completely in line with your personal requirements, your current level of knowledge and your investment strategy. You’ll find all the basics at a glance in our comprehensive guide to investment.

Be sure to diversify

Diversification is everything when it comes to security. That means distributing your investments broadly. For example, by purchasing a wide range of securities in different markets, sectors and currency areas. Especially when starting out, broad-based funds and ETFs can be a good option for minimizing risk, while also enjoying opportunities to generate returns. Funds provide investment opportunities even with small amounts. You’ll find more about this in the article “Diversification – why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Start early to extend your investment horizon

Starting early gives you a longer investment horizon. Temporary losses can be evened out provided you stick to your investment strategy. If your strategy permits, this enables you to optimize investment yields and protect against risks more effectively over time.

Ensuring consistency

Investing small amounts regularly makes you less susceptible to market fluctuations. This approach also ensures you only invest as much money as your current budget permits. If you start earning more later on or have more disposal income for other reasons, it’s worth re-viewing the situation and extending your portfolio on this basis.

Study results show that women who don’t yet have any assets gain confidence when they work out a personal finance or investment plan. Access to experts to clear up any questions or doubts can help to feel more confident about your financial future.

Studies on the topic of “women and investment” which are referred to in the article

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