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Do women invest better?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

There's a pessimistic saying that claims men marry women for their looks, while women marry men for their money. But one study concludes that women's lack of confidence with money actually makes them better investors.

Ledbury Research and Barclays Capital surveyed 2,000 high net worth individuals and found that women are more likely than men to buy and hold when investing in the market, a strategy that delivers long-term success. They also tend toward safer investments and are more willing to seek advice, describing themselves as less confident when it comes to investing. Men, on the other hand, generally take more risks in the market by trading frequently and using leverage to boost returns.

According to the study: "Consistent with previous studies, men tend to have a higher risk tolerance, are more likely to label themselves 'financial risk takers' and have a greater tolerance to choose high-risk investments."

In a separate study, conducted by Hedge Fund Research, female hedge fund managers had higher annualized returns from January 2000 through May 2009 than their male counterparts: 9 percent versus 5.82 percent.

Who else is risk-averse?

Gender issues aside, there were some additional interesting findings in the Barclays Capital survey when it comes to risk-taking. For instance, older respondents say they are less likely to take risks with frequent trading and are more apt to adopt the buy-and-hold strategy. That makes sense, as those looking toward retirement want to preserve their wealth, not gamble with it.

However, the greater the net worth of an investor, whether male or female, the more likely he or she is to take risks. And it's true that most wealth creators have taken on significant risk while building their fortune.

Do you consider yourself a risk-taker when it comes to investing, or do you play it safe?

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2 Comments
Dmitry
June 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm

A better investor is the one that makes a decision based on rational thought and information available to achieve better returns.

Sticking to irrational emotion is not "being a better investor" regardless of the direction of that emotion or the current results.

Risk and risk management are both essential when comes to investing.

I strongly doubt that female fund managers achieved 9% returns because of "women's lack of confidence with money". I think they either knew exactly what to do with money, or relied on someone else (a male? - cannot be true!) to make the decisions. In that case the statistics numbers are inaccurate.