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Women, let's invest!

Finances, capital markets, investments. Not long ago, these topics were wrongly attributed exclusively to men. Today we will show you why this stereotype should be forgotten as soon as possible and prove that long-term investing is a woman's domain.

Klaudia Sibielak | Personal finance | 17. October 2021

It is the man who should take care of the money and the woman's role is to take care of the house... the times when this division existed are thankfully behind us. Unfortunately, its effects are still being felt today. Interest in financial markets is much more common among men than among women. In the management and supervisory boards of listed companies in Poland only 13.8% of them work, while among investors, in almost every category, men dominate. According to a study conducted by the Institute for Structural Research, nearly one in three young Polish women have no source of their own income and live on someone else's dependence.

Meanwhile, current data indicates that women should nowadays take even more care of their finances than men. Ania Kęska has already written about why women should have their own money on her blog - the fact is that for various reasons women are more likely to become victims of economic violence. However, this is not the only factor that works against women.

Women in Poland earn on average 8.5% less than men. And this is still better than almost twice higher EU average. And although it would seem that this phenomenon may be a natural consequence of lower qualifications and differences in professions performed by both genders, in reality this disproportion occurs on a similar scale between men and women of similar specialization, education and in the same industries.

This phenomenon, commonly referred to as the "pay gap", results, among others, from ingrained stereotypes in our society, lack of pay transparency, as well as greater involvement of women in family responsibilities. This, combined with a lower retirement age for women in Poland, means that in retirement they receive much lower benefits than men. I have already written about how our retirement prospects are shaping up in a previous article. Currently, the average Polish pensioner receives 3184 PLN gross, while the average female pensioner only 2128 PLN gross. It's less than 67% of what men get! And there are no promises that these differences will be reduced soon.

With such significant differences, it is even more important to have adequate financial skills and to take specific actions, which would allow women both to protect themselves from the effects of possible unforeseen events and to take care of a safe future. What does it look like in practice?

How do women invest?

All data suggests that women overwhelmingly do not invest. At Finax there is less than one woman investor for every five investors - ladies account for less than 17% of our clients. And this is still a pretty good result. On the domestic WSE women account for only 7.8% of all individual investors, and similar conclusions can be drawn with respect to foreign countries. According to a survey conducted by S&P Global, only 26% of women in the United States invest on the stock market. Cash is also far more likely to have a large share of women's assets than men's (65% vs. 51%), and 41% of women declare no intention of investing it compared to 31% of men. That's a shame. Especially since, as it turns out, women can be really good investors.

Numerous studies confirm that statistically men and women have different investment behavior. And while the most popular stereotype is that women are inherently less risk averse, in fact, this myth has already been debunked in a 2019 study by E. M. Liu and S. X. Zuo in 2019. So how does male investing differ from female investing?

First and foremost, strategy. According to a survey conducted by investment firm Fidelity in May 2017, what sets female investors apart is the lower frequency of trading. In fact, the study found that men trade the markets as much as 35% more often than women. This means that they tend to stick more tenaciously to once chosen investment strategy and - contrary to popular stereotypes - are less likely to give in to emotions. In addition, lower frequency of transactions prevents them from incurring additional costs, resulting in higher investment efficiency. So it seems that Finax's philosophy of passive approach to investing may be even closer to women, who find it easier not to succumb to the temptation of making unnecessary changes to their strategy.

Women are also often less confident in their investment decisions - according to BritainThinks, only 38% of women said they were confident, compared to 53% of men. As it turns out, however, this uncertainty can work to your advantage. Experts point out that the lack of excessive certainty may induce female investors to seek more information about the subject of investment, which translates not only into more informed decisions and less tendency to fall into the trap of investment bubbles, but also into less impulsiveness in case of market drops.

As a result, female investors are often found to have better investment results than male investors. A study by Warwick Business School found that between April 2012 and July 2016, women achieved a 1.2 percentage point higher rate of return than men. We can draw similar conclusions, among others, from a report by the consulting firm Rothstein Kass, according to which women hedge fund managers achieved a return of 6%, which is 1.8 percentage points higher than the S&P500 index grew by 4.2%. Experts at investment company Hargreaves Lansdown, on the other hand, point out that the portfolios of their female investors earn on average 25% more than those of male investors over a 30-year period.

How do our female clients invest?

While analyzing the topic of women's investing, we also decided to check out how women invest at Finax.

It turns out that our female clients also do not confirm the myth of greater risk aversion among women. As part of their investment strategies, on average they choose to keep 71.9% of equities, the riskier financial instruments, in their portfolios, while clients choose to hold an average of 67.6%. Our female clients' slightly more conservative approach to risk, on the other hand, is reflected in their predictions about their future behavior in specific situations.

Our female clients more often declare that in the event of a stock market decline they would prefer to keep their current portfolios (64.7% of women vs. 53.7% of men), while less often they assume that in such a situation they would buy more securities (41% of women vs. 54.8% of men). However, it is hard to say to what extent these declarations would come true in reality. The latest MIT study indicates that statistically the most susceptible to stock market panic are... men over 45 years old.

Female investors also have lower expectations regarding Finax returns - only 41% of women and as many as 53.4% of men expect high rates of return, while the rest would be satisfied with returns described as medium or low. Differences also appear in the investment objectives chosen - our female clients noticeably more often than their male counterparts choose investment objectives such as Retirement (22.09% vs. 18.88%) and Financial Reserve (13.86% vs. 11.63%), and less often - surprisingly – Saving for Children (11.18% vs. 13.44%).

Notice: (This analysis is based on the data of Polish clients)

Take your finances into your own hands

Becoming independent, securing your future, multiplying the money you earn. Buying a home or educating your children. There are endless reasons to invest. Meanwhile, research shows that women have a large, but so far unexploited potential for this. It is worth having courage to join the group of successful female investors who consciously take care of their finances. Nobody can do it for us.

Even if you have no experience with investing, there is still a lot to learn. Finax was created to make cheap, simple and effective investing available to everyone - not just those the most experienced investors. We believe that the key to success is a simple, long-term investment strategy, and we advise our clients to be persistent and not get emotional. It turns out that women don't need to be convinced about it, and the data proves us right.

However, regardless of whether you want to become our client, it is essential that you take care of your finances. If you feel that you lack knowledge on this topic, we encourage you to use our educational materials. On our blog you will already find 120 articles on how to manage your money wisely and on our YouTube channel there are as many as 23 webinars on various issues related to investing.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on 02/2100 9985 or write to client@finax.eu. We are at your disposal from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 17:00.

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Women, let's invest!
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Klaudia Sibielak
Klaudia Sibielak
Junior Analyst
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