Female investors are less optimistic than their male counterparts about the market and economy regardless of their affluence or access to a financial advisor, Nationwide Advisory Solutions reported Monday.
In a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 56% of women said they were optimistic about their financial outlook for 2019, compared with 53% of men.
However, only 36% of women were optimistic about the U.S. stock market this year, compared with 50% of men, and a similar gap surfaced concerning the U.S. economy.
Women in the survey were also less financially prepared than men.
“It’s clear that women are highly attuned to the uncertainty in the market and the economy, and that they need more help to protect against these potential risks,” Kristi Rodriguez, leader of the Nationwide Retirement Institute, said in a statement.
Fifty-seven percent of female investors in the survey expressed concern about a U.S. bear market, versus 51% of men, and 60% of women worried about a U.S. economic recession over the next 12 months, versus 57% of men.
Two-thirds of both female and male investors anticipated that market volatility would increase over the next year. Likewise, women and men were about equally likely to say that protecting assets was among their chief financial concerns.
Yet, only 56% of women said they had a strategy in place to protect their assets against market risk, compared with 71% of men.
Women also were slightly likelier than men to worry about outliving their retirement savings, but were much less likely to have a strategy to protect against this eventuality.
Both women and men said Social Security was their main solution, but women were more reliant on it than men — 78% of women cited it as a form of protection from asset depletion versus 66% of men.
Women were also far less likely than men to report that they used other guaranteed income solutions to protect against outliving savings, such as deferred income annuities and qualified longevity annuity contracts, and somewhat less likely to use single premium immediate annuities.
“As seen year over year, more women are seeking the help of advisors to solve their concerns, from protecting assets and saving for retirement, to managing volatility,” Craig Hawley, head of Nationwide Advisory Solutions, said in the statement.
“These advisors have an opportunity — and a responsibility — to understand women’s needs and help them establish a holistic plan that can help them manage through the current uncertainty while helping them remain focused on long-term goals.”