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Who’s the Better Investor: Men or Women?

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Fidelity Investments released survey findings that though women are better investors than men, only 9% think themselves of outperforming their counterparts.

When it comes to saving and investing one’s hard earned money, who has greater overall success: men or women? If your immediate reaction was “men,” then a new study from Fidelity Investments® may come as something of a surprise—and you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, when asked who they believed made the better investor this past year, a mere nine percent of women thought they would outperform men1. And yet, a growing body of evidence, including an analysis of more than eight million clients from Fidelity2, shows that women actually tend to outperform men when it comes to generating a return on their investments.

With this in mind, it’s concerning that so many women have such a dim view of their money management capabilities. Regardless of education levels, personal or professional achievements, many women still have doubts about their ability to invest effectively. In fact, when asked what financial life skills they wished they learned earlier, the number one answer was “how to invest and make the most of my money.” But perhaps women have learned far more than they realize, considering these findings:

  • Women Earn Higher Returns:Fidelity Investments client data analysis3 shows on average, women performed better than men when it comes to investing by 40 basis points, or 0.4 percent. At first glance this may appear to be a minor difference, but can have a significant impact over time.
  • Women Save More:Fidelity’s analysis also found that when comparing annual savings rates, women come out on top:
    • Looking specifically at workplace retirement accounts4, women consistently saved a higher percentage of their paychecks than their male counterparts at every salary level. Women saved an annual average of 9.0 percent of their paychecks, compared to an average of 8.6 percent saved by their male counterparts.
    • Looking at accounts outside of workplace savings5, such as IRAs and brokerage, the data showed that in proportion to their account balances, women saved more. Women added an average of 12.4 percent to their account balance, compared to 11.6 percent for men.

What can saving at a higher rate and earning a higher return mean over time? The impact can be significant, and amplified even more so for younger investors. Using current workplace savings rates, consider these hypothetical examples6:

Over the past three years, Fidelity has seen the number of women investing their money with the firm grow significantly – by 19 percent, to more than 12 million. “The good news is many women are putting themselves in the financial driver’s seat, taking positive steps to save and invest effectively for their future,” said Kathleen Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity. “But there are still many who need to do more. The reality is that saving alone is not enough to even keep pace with inflation, so if you’re not investing, you’re likely losing money. Taking the next step to ensure that savings are invested properly and generating growth is critical to helping women progress toward their financial goals and live the lives they deserve.”

 

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