Among the many stereotypes abroad about women and finances, one holds that they are more risk-averse investors than men and have lower investing acumen.
Survey results released this week by FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds indicate otherwise, at least for high-earning female investors, showing they have a similar if not greater risk appetite compared with high-earning men.
The survey focused on primary earners in households.
Thirty-one percent of men in the survey identified themselves as conservative investors, while only 14% of women did so. Overall, 26% of women surveyed considered their risk profile to be moderately aggressive or aggressive, as compared with 27% of men.
High-earning women also exhibited confidence in managing their finances and investments. Asked to rank their general investment knowledge on a scale of 1 to 10, women’s mean response was 7.3, compared with a combined average of 8.1 for all respondents.
In addition, women ranked their ability to perform financial planning tasks, such as creating a budget and managing investments, above 7.0 on nearly every activity.
The report noted that although men rated themselves above 8.0 on every task, both women and men exhibited high levels of financial knowledge.
“Many financial advisors continue to cling to outdated assumptions regarding female clients’ risk tolerance and overall interest in investing, which may not be accurate for high-earning breadwinners,” David Partain, head of marketing at FlexShares, said in a statement.
The survey was administered to 211 women and 250 men in March and April. Participants were 35 to 65 years old with household income of more than $200,000; they had more than $1 million in investable assets or more than $250,000 for those between 35 and 39 years old.
The survey found significantly different priorities between women’s and men’s top current financial goals. Seventy percent of men said providing for future generations was their top priority and 62% said it was taking care of their dependents financially, compared with 30% and 38% of women who said this.
Sixty-nine percent of women said their main goal was “to know that I’m prepared for the worst,” compared with 31% of men who rated this as a top goal.
Women were also most concerned with planning for retirement and making philanthropic contributions.
On the home front, both male and female primary breadwinners reported taking on at least 50% of responsibility for dependent caregiving.